ATLANTA — A ruling has been made in the legal fight between Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance company and Northside Hospital. The two have been embroiled in a contract dispute over the cost of care for months now. A Fulton County judge decided to extend in-network coverage through April 15.
This decision affects about 400,000 patients with Anthem insurance who were left wondering if their in-network coverage at Northside could be dropped. However, while the injunction extension keeps Northside’s Anthem patients in-network, Northside and Anthem remain in negotiations as they try to work out new agreements, according to a Northside news release.
Seven months ago, the health insurance provider notified Northside it wanted to change its contract – alleging Northside was charging more than most metro hospitals. However, Northside said the contract was not up for renewal and it argued a bill signed into law in Georgia during the pandemic prohibited insurers from terminating a provider’s in-network coverage for up to 150 days after a public health emergency.
On. Dec. 30, a judge granted an injunction, which allowed Northside to remain in-network with anthem through Jan. 31. But Anthem filed an emergency motion seeking to end coverage and force arbitration.
During a hearing this week, the judge was tasked with deciding whether the new law protects Northside and whether Anthem can legally terminate its contract with Northside, if it wasn’t up for negotiation.
With Friday's ruling, the in-network coverage will continue through at least mid-April.