UConn Health Helps Patients Caught In Hartford HealthCare-Anthem Dispute

With no end in sight in a nearly week-long dispute between Hartford HealthCare and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, the UConn Health is helping patients find affordable medical attention.

UConn Health tweeted Friday that those who are “displaced” by the dispute may call for guidance on where to find an in-network doctor.

“We are in network and here to help,” UConn Health said.

Hartford HealthCare and Anthem failed to reach agreement to negotiate a three-year contract by their deadline last Saturday. Tens of thousands of patients are now classified as out-of-network and forced to pay sharply higher out-of-pocket costs for health care.

Chris Hyers, chief spokesman for UConn Health, said the Farmington-based health center stepped in after fielding questions from state employees and others about finding affordable health care. UConn Health officials set up a call center late Thursday.

“We’ve got a lot of people saying, ‘What do we do?’ ” he said.

Patients who call a UConn Health telephone number can discuss their medical problem and schedule a doctor’s visit.

Hyers said UConn Health wants patients to know that despite their out-of-network status, affordable medical attention is available.

He said patients shouldn’t avoid treatment “because of money.’’

UConn Health officials were hesitant to act because previous disputes between insurers and health providers were settled quickly, Hyers said.

“We thought this would resolve itself quickly,” he said.

Hospitals affected by the dispute include Hartford Hospital, the Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain, Midstate Medical Center in Meriden, Backus Hospital in Norwich, Windham Hospital in Willimantic and the Institute of Living, a Hartford-based facility that treats mental illness and other health conditions.

Neither Hartford HealthCare nor Anthem are providing details about negotiations or what is holding up an agreement.

Anthem has said it is seeking an agreement that reflects rising health care costs, “rather than one containing three consecutive years of increases that are two to three times the rate of inflation.”

Hartford HealthCare has said Anthem has “acted on only a small percentage” of patients seeking “continuation of care” that would allow patients to receive medically necessary care at an in-network basis for a designated period of time.

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