Connecticut lawmakers to go ahead with Anthem-Hartford Healthcare hearing
Members of the legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee plan to go ahead with a hearing scheduled for Tuesday regarding the contract dispute between Wallingford-based Anthem Bue Cross-Blue Shield and Hartford Healthcare, though the two sides reached an agreement on Nov. 18.
The previous three-year contract had expired on October 1, as Anthem and Hartford Healthcare battled over increases in the level of reimbursements that the insurer would provide for patients’ treatment. During the month-and-half long dispute, between 40,000 and 60,000 Hartford Healthcare patients who have Anthem insurance coverage were forced to pay higher out-of-network rates.
The hearing is set to begin at 10 a.m. in Room 2C of the Legislative Office Building, according to state Rep. Sean Scanlon, D-Guilford, who is House chairman of the legislative committee. Plans for a hearing were scheduled before the agreement was reached between the insurer and the healthcare provider, which operates Hartford Hospital and Midstate Medical Center in Meriden.
The first two hours of the hearing will feature testimony from representatives of the insurance company and the healthcare provider, as well as state Comptroller Kevin Lembo and Connecticut's Healthcare Advocate Ted Doolittle. The public will be able to give testimony starting at noon, Scanlon said.
"While I'm glad that the two sides were finally able to reach a deal, their inability to reach one for seven weeks negatively impacted thousands of Connecticut families,” Scanlon said . “I think we owe it to the citizens of this state to find out what happened and how we can avoid prolonged disputes like this in the future. It’s a little early to talk about some kind of legislative fix at this point; we first have to find out why this happened.”
Scanlon said his office has heard from “people “with truly unsettling stories whose lives were impacted by this dispute.”
“Yale-New Haven (Health System) has negotiations coming up with Anthem next year,” he said. “I don’t want to see what happened in central and eastern Connecticut, where Hartford Healthcare is the dominant player, happen here in our neck of the woods.”
Scanlon said he hopes anyone whose health care suffered as a result of te dispute should attend the hearing or e-mail testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shawn Mawhiney, a spokesman for Hartford Healthcare, said the provider will be represented by Dr. James P. Cardon, the organization’s chief clinical integration officer and chief executive officer of Integrated Care Partners. Hartford Healthcare-employed physicians as well as private-practice physicians are represented by Integrated Care Partners.
“Dr. Cardon was part of the negotiating team,” Mawhiney said Monday. “I think it is more appropriate that we let the hearing play out than comment at this point.”
An Anthem Blue Cross spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment on what representatives of the insurance company might tell committee members.