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Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and CommonSpirit Health continue talks past contract deadline

Anthem says CommonSpirit already has some of the highest reimbursement rates of health systems in Colorado, and are now asking to increase that rate to more than twice the rate of inflation.
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Posted at 7:48 AM, May 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-01 12:25:41-04

DENVER — Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and CommonSpirit Health continued contract negotiations Wednesday morning.

CommonSpirit sent Denver7 the following statement regarding the debate:

"Our discussions with Anthem will continue this morning, and we remain hopeful we will reach a responsible agreement that protects the high-quality care we provide our patients across Colorado. We will provide additional updates throughout the day," spokesperson Lindsay Radford said.

Anthem said CommonSpirit already has some of the highest reimbursement rates of health systems in Colorado, and are now asking to increase that rate to more than twice the rate of inflation.

"We're all dealing with inflation. For us to be able to provide the quality of care that we provide, what we feel is outstanding for us to provide the array of services that we have for our Anthem patients, it's really problematic for us to then not be at a position from what the contract and what they're offering, for us to be able to provide that for our patients," Oswaldo Grenardo with CommonSpirit said.

Anthem said they can't agree to what CommonSpirit is asking. If they did, it would increase out-of-pocket and premium costs for members.

Anthem sent Denver7 the following statement on negotiations:

"Anthem has offered CommonSpirit Health a multi-year agreement that includes reasonable reimbursement rates. Unfortunately, CommonSpirit has chosen to leave Anthem’s network in Colorado. Anthem continues to collaborate with CommonSpirit to reach a new agreement. This negotiation is about healthcare affordability. CommonSpirit wants to unacceptably increase costs for Colorado consumers and employers. Healthcare cost increases of this magnitude would directly impact our members and local employers. Anthem members with questions can call member services at the phone number on the back of their member ID card," spokesperson Emily Snooks said.

Dozens of facilities would be considered out-of-network for patients if they don't come to an agreement, including hospitals and urgent care centers, home health and hospice centers and radiology centers.

CommonSpirit said what they're asking for is a "fair and reasonable rate."

Patients, though, are left frustrated and with a decision to make.

"What I would end up doing is postponing my care. It's not just my neurologist, but also my primary care provider. But I'm so happy with the quality of care that I've gotten from CommonSpirit providers and facilities that I'm willing to change insurance companies in order to stay in network with them," a patient, Carrie Jolly, said. "Consumers are in the middle right now. That's what's bothering me most. We have no voice in this whole situation."

Anthem said it will work with members to make sure they have continued access to care and help them transition to an in-network provider.

If a member continues to get non-emergency care from CommonSpirit without prior approval from Anthem, then that member will be responsible for the difference between their health plan and what CommonSpirit bills.

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, CommonSpirit negotiate contract Wednesday


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