Anthem Blue Cross Goes Forward With Hospital Deal Over Rescissions
Anthem Blue Cross' parent company WellPoint is proceeding with an $11.8 million class action settlement with California hospitals despite three hospital chains opting out of the deal, the Sacramento Business Journal reports (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 9/5).
The California Hospital Association filed the lawsuit seeking to recoup money for hospitals left unpaid after Anthem Blue Cross rescinded policies (California Healthline, 8/18).
Catholic Healthcare West executives said the chain is opting to pursue its own lawsuit against Anthem Blue Cross, while St. Joseph's Health System said it is seeking to settle the matter out of court.
Sutter Health does not believe the agreement is in its hospitals' best interests, according to spokesperson Karen Garner.
Together, the three hospital chains represent 74 hospitals out of potentially 400 that could be covered under the settlement.
Blue Cross spokesperson Peggy Hinz said the company remains hopeful that the hospitals will decide to join in the resolution before the settlement is approved in court.
The settlement will compensate hospitals for claims involving patients whose policies were rescinded as far back as October 2001.
Blue Cross will establish an $11.65 million compensation fund that will reimburse hospitals for services they provided members whose policies were canceled.
The company also will establish a $150,000 fund to reimburse patients who paid some or the entire tab after their policies were canceled.
As a condition of accepting the settlement, hospitals will drop efforts to collect money from the patients.
There will be a hearing on Sept. 29 in Los Angeles Superior Court to address any objections to the deal.
Glenn Solomon, a Los Angeles attorney who represents the hospital association, said that he expects the settlement to be approved and that funds could be disbursed as soon as October (Sacramento Business Journal, 9/5).