Just days after an announcement saying they were severing ties with MemorialCare Health Care Systems, the Anthem Blue Cross insurance company has signed a new agreement to continue coverage.
A previous contract, which included Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Community Hospital Long Beach as in-system providers, expired on Aug. 15. Letters to Anthem customers began arriving Monday saying new treatments at Memorial hospitals would not be covered.
The announcement sparked a response from state Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), who said the insurance company and healthcare provider should take patients into account and reach agreement.
“I applaud Anthem Blue Cross and Long Beach Memorial Medical Center for coming back to the table and reaching an agreement as quickly as they did,” O’Donnell said Friday. “The news of the split was shocking and unnerving, and patients deserve to be able to count on reliable and accessible health care.”
Friday afternoon, MemorialCare executive director of managed care Lori Weaver released a statement saying that an agreement retroactive to Aug. 15 had been signed.
“We are pleased to announce that MemorialCare has reached a definitive agreement with Anthem for our hospital contracts,” Weaver said in the statement. “Effective retroactively to August 15, 2017, MemorialCare hospitals continue to be in-network providers for all Anthem members, allowing our patients and community to continue to receive uninterrupted, exceptional care. We’re reassured that Anthem continues to recognize that MemorialCare is a vital medical resource to the community.”
Anthem Blue Cross sent out a similar statement to some news outlets. The Long Beach Business Journal said the statement included this quote:
“Anthem Blue Cross is pleased to have reached a three-year agreement that will ensure our members have access to MemorialCare facilities. We’re sorry for any inconvenience the termination of our previous contract may have caused our members, but today’s agreement will help ensure stability going forward. It’s important to our members that we achieve the appropriate balance between access and affordability, and we’ve done that with this new agreement,” Brian Ternan, president of Anthem Blue Cross, said.
MemorialCare said it would continue to answer questions at its patient financial services consierge number, (714) 377-6897.