We were glad to see that Hartford HealthCare and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield were finally able to reach an agreement after a more than a month-long impasse that left patients scrambling to find new doctors or face escalating health care costs.
Because the two parties missed the deadline for agreeing on a new contract, thousands of patients who were insured through Anthem and served by Hartford Healthcare were considered “out-of-network” and therefore faced higher out-of-pocket costs. The alternative would have been to find a new provider, something many people are reluctant to do.
The good news is the three-year contract announced Saturday restores access to physicians, facilities and services within the network to patients with Anthem insurance.
It’s retroactive to Oct. 1, meaning patients who received out-of-network care from HHC since that date will pay what they would have paid if HHC had been in network all along.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says the agreement gives consumers “the peace of mind that they deserve” but we’re not so sure.
The fact is, health care has the potential to be one of a family’s greatest expenses – and one that, for many, is as essential as food or shelter. Yet, between the unaffordable premium increases tied to the Affordable Care Act, efforts of the Republicans in Congress to repeal the act without a real plan to replace it, and business disputes like this one, many of us are left with great uncertainty about how to protect our families.
We believe two things: 1) health care providers deserve honest recompense for their life-giving services and 2) our leaders need to see this issue not as just a budget line but as vital for millions of American families.