Deal keeps Anthem in-network at Memorial


JASPER — A deal has been made.

Wednesday afternoon, after months of negotiation, Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield reached an agreement to keep the Anthem insurance plans in-network at the local hospital.

“We want you, our patients, to know how thankful Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center is for your support and patience during this challenging time and, as always, for trusting us with your health care needs,” Memorial President and CEO Kyle Bennett said in a press release. “We are grateful you stood by us as we worked to secure fair terms with Anthem, ensuring your continued ability to receive the highest-quality care at an affordable cost closer to home. While Memorial will receive payment increases for both inpatient and outpatient services, Memorial will remain the low cost provider in the region.”

If an agreement was not reached by late Wednesday night, people with Anthem insurance would have found themselves out-of-network at the local hospital. Memorial and Anthem had been working toward a deal since May.

“We are pleased to continue working with Memorial to make healthcare simpler, more affordable, and more accessible for those we serve,” Rob Hillman, president of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, said in a press release. “Our consumers have remained our number one priority as we worked hard and in good faith to find common ground on a new agreement with Memorial. These negotiations were an important step in achieving greater affordability for consumers and we appreciate Memorial’s willingness to work on finalizing an agreement with reasonable cost increases.”

The discussions centered on reimbursement for services.

In October, a Memorial representative said both parties remained “significantly apart on their positions, and Anthem’s actions thus far don’t give Memorial a reason to be optimistic.”

But now that the deadline has passed and a deal has been struck, local Anthem policyholders can exhale a sigh of relief.

“Over the past several months, we have witnessed the true meaning of teamwork and the resiliency of the communities we serve,” Bennett said in a letter that will be sent to Memorial patients. “This was embodied by the Memorial Health Resource Center (MHRC). We anticipated you would have questions that would take time and expertise to resolve, so we opened the MHRC in October to help those with Anthem insurance get the benefits they paid for with the caregivers they trust.”

He continued: “We were amazed at how the community responded to the MHRC, and we are proud of the compassionate service provided by our staff to those with Anthem insurance.”

Those with questions can continue to reach the MHRC at 996-6399.

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