Lembo Directs Patients To Alternatives As Anthem, Hartford HealthCare Dispute Drags On

Connecticut Comptroller Kevin Lembo on Thursday mailed a list of alternative providers to as many as 50,000 patients of Hartford HealthCare as the health network’s dispute with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield drags on in its sixth week.

“This outrageous failure to reach agreement after this long threatens the welfare of everyone involved — not only for cancer patients, pregnant women and other patients who face disruption to essential care, but both of these large corporations,” he said. “I am deeply disappointed by the continued failure by both parties to reach a contract resolution.”

Lembo said Anthem members who use HHC providers should be familiar with alternative choices for providers and protect against “health and financial harm.” He mailed an alternative provider list to affected members and warned patients about potential financial liability in emergencies and nonemergencies.

For years, Hartford HealthCare and Anthem negotiated rates that included the hospital group in the insurer’s network of providers. The most recent contract expired Sept. 30 and the parties, trading accusations of greed and intimidation, have been unable to agree on new rates for certain medical care.

In the absence of an agreement, Hartford HealthCare has been removed from Anthem’s network of health providers, leaving tens of thousands of Connecticut patients with the prospect of higher out-of-pocket, out-of-network costs for treatment. Patients with “true emergency conditions” can receive treatment at any Hartford HealthCare facilities and pay the in-network rate.

Hartford HealthCare said last week that “we are deeply concerned that we remain far apart at this date, and do not appear to be close to a resolution.”

Anthem has not commented except to say it is continuing negotiations.

The Hartford HealthCare network includes 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 institution that treats mental illness and other health conditions.

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