Connecticut’s largest hospital network, Hartford Healthcare and largest insurer, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield are currently disputing over a contract negotiation. Although this type of dispute has become commonplace, it’s now occurring “against the backdrop of significant changes in health care: the consolidation of hospitals into larger networks and efforts by insurers to change how they pay for care.” Hospitals are concerned about how much they will get paid and whether or not they’ll participate in the insurer’s network.
The health care landscape has seen a big change in recent years due to more hospitals joining larger chains, giving them more say in negotiations. Many people are beginning to worry that this newfound bargaining power by hospitals will translate to higher prices for care. Moreover, hospitals are becoming stronger in negotiations as they build new types of organizations designed to adapt to changing payment models. On the other side, insurance companies are changing the way they pay hospitals from a “fee-for-service” basis to towards more coordinated-care models, trying to get providers to be more mindful of costs.
As of now, both Hartford Healthcare and Anthem are still discussing options. Ultimately, whatever the decision may be, it will be the consumer who will be the most affected.
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