Blue Cross and Piedmont sign deal on health contract

A deal has been finalized between Blue Cross Blue Shield and Piedmont Healthcare, securing health insurance coverage for many Georgia patients.

The agreement announced Monday allows Piedmont patients with Blue Cross insurance to see their doctors without incurring higher out-of-pocket costs, according to Piedmont. Blue Cross patients will remain “in network” when they visit Piedmont hospitals.

The previous contract had expired April 1, forcing patients out of Blue Cross’ network. About 500,000 Georgia residents have used Piedmont services with Blue Cross insurance in the past 18 months.

Gov. Nathan Deal had announced a tentative “handshake deal” between the companies last week. Piedmont and Blue Cross completed the agreement and signed it Friday night.

Patients who received services since April 1 will be covered retroactively.

“Preserving the relationship between the patient and their preferred healthcare provider has been our No. 1 goal during this entire negotiation,” said Kevin Brown, Piedmont healthcare president and chief operating officer. “We know this has been difficult for our patients, and we are glad to finally have a resolution that restores and protects patient care.”

Piedmont said it will begin calling patients, especially those who canceled or delayed care during the disruption in service. The company encouraged patients to call their Piedmont doctor to reschedule.

The agreement came after Deal threatened “executive action” if the companies didn’t resolve their dispute over compensation for health services.

Anthem Inc. is the parent company of Blue Cross.

The new contract with Anthem Blue Cross extends into 2021, according to Piedmont’s announcement.

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