Jill Rubin Hummel, the general manager and president of Connecticut Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield sent an email to Elliot Joseph and Jeffrey Flaks of Hartford Healthcare in an effort to find a solution to the contract standoff which has resulted in an untold number of Connecticut residents to pay steeper out-of-network expenses or postpone treatments. Joseph and Flaks are CEO and the President of Hartford respectively.
Continued harassment of patients
The email starts with Hummel pointing out a Courant media report that actual patients are being subjected to harassment due to the unwillingness of HHC to permit patients to be recipients of in-network care even as negotiations towards a new agreement are taking place. She urged her counterpart to make a compromise and reach a brand new agreement so that members of Anthem rest easy. If such an agreement fructifies, then Anthem members can relax on the understanding that they will enjoy care from the HHC hospitals along with affiliated providers on the in-network sans any kind of disruption.
Customers of Anthem have been facing difficulties since September 30, the day when the contract between HHC and Anthem expired. All linked hospitals like Hartford Hospital and Hospital of Central Connecticut started to bill at a much higher and out-of-network rates. According to Anthem, it has started negotiations. HHC, however, said that the two is not nearer to any resolution. Hummel said in her email that the new offer is being extended from November 3. She also contacted Flaks during the first weekend of November to continue discussions.
Delay in treatments
Anthem publicized the email after an article was published in the Courant. The article describes in detail the issues faced by patients as they try to sign up for the non-Anthem plans of health insurance or locate new doctors during open enrollment. Patients suffering from chronic health problems or those who suffer from frequent health issues told the media company that they are forced to delay much-required surgeries. Visits to the doctors are also reduced and pills are being rationed.
Shawn Mawhiney, the spokesperson for HHC, responded by saying that they are fully in line to reach a new and fair agreement with Anthem. He said that his company is aware of the difficulties being faced by the people and HHC prefers that Anthem works with them to achieve a solution and also restore the in-network access for the longer term for all patients.