Ooh, those are fightin’ words!
Northside Hospital held nothing back in a recent statement on its efforts to stay in-network with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.
The hospital has been battling with Anthem for months, and the insurer was set to drop Northside from its network on January 1. What a way to celebrate the new year, right?
“With the Covid-19 Omicron variant now surging through U.S. and Georgia, Anthem’s decision to remove Northside from its networks defied both logic and sensitivity,” Northside said in a statement.
But per an article in Georgia Health News, a Fulton County Superior Court judge issued an injunction, saving patients from getting dropped in the final hour. The injunction stems from a new Georgia law – House Bill 454 – which states that during a public health emergency, insurers are prohibited from ending contracts.
Seems like a niche rule to put into law – but here we are. Pandemic or not, insurers clearly see no issue in pushing hospitals and patients out of network, until regulators tell them they can’t.
State Representative Mark Newton, an Augusta physician and lead sponsor of the new law, said Monday that “this current contract dispute illustrates precisely the need for our recent bill protecting patients.”
So good on Georgia, but patients aren’t out of the woods yet: The injunction only extends until February 1. In the meantime, Northside is still in discussion with Anthem. Here’s hoping this cease fire holds.