In Sep. 4-10 issue By Greg Wells Times Journal Managing Editor
RUSSELL SPRINGS - Anthem Insurance, the Blue Cross / Blue Shield provider, and the Russell County Hospital’s administration are at odds over the hospital’s contract, which the hospital has served notice that it is canceling.
Gary DelForge, the chief executive officer of the hospital, said the hospital had to take the action in order to force the insurer to the bargaining table.
Anthem’s spokeswoman Christine Robinson said they are bargaining in good faith and are not interested in seeing their customers paying more to go to the hospital in Russell County.
“Both parties are out to negotiate in good faith,” Robinson said. “There is still time to negotiate so there is no danger to our customers that they will suddenly see their insurance not accepted.”
DelForge said the hospital was able to negotiate a contract with two other major insurers in the state, and they are close with Humana. He added that in his words Anthem had “forced their hand.” In the offers that were being made until they gave notice that they were canceling.
October first is the deadline. After that the hospital will be out of network for those with Anthem Health Insurance. He said they will be working with patients to lessen the impact on patients’ wallets should that happen.
She said they and the hospital are in negotiations and they have improved the offer for the hospital.
He said they have seen offers from the insurance company but that they were not what the hospital needed to see yet.
“I’m expecting that they’ll wait until the last minute,” DelForge concluded.
Robertson said they are working to maintain a working relationship with the hospital, she also pointed out that they are the largest health insurer in the state.
DelForge noted that in this area they have lost several contracts since the negation difficulties with the hospital came to light.
He said Tantus and Bruss have moved to Humana, while the hospital now insures its employees through Bluegrass.
“Anthem is losing business in this area right now,” DelForge said. “More will leave if they feel that the coverage won’t continue to be accepted.”
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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