Hundreds of thousands of Georgians are now out of network with Piedmont doctors and hospitals after Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia and Piedmont Healthcare failed to reach a new contract agreement over the weekend.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia is the state’s largest health insurer and covers more than half a million state employees and their family members, according to Gov. Nathan Deal, including Logan Garrett and her family. Garrett and her husband teach at the University of Georgia and are covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia.
She said the contract dispute between the insurance company and Piedmont has been unsettling for her and her family, and they’re trying to figure out what to do next.
“As of yesterday, we won’t be taking our children for their well-checks in April and May because we cannot pay more out of pocket when we already have a $4,000 deductible,” Garrett said.
Garrett has also been going to an oncologist for her own treatment. She had breast cancer in 2013, and she goes to an oncologist regularly for checkups. When she went to an appointment Monday morning, she said she found out that oncologist group was part of Piedmont.
Garrett said she is able to get coverage for the next two months under a “continuation of care” clause for people with certain conditions, but she does not know what will happen after the two months are up.
“Every month, I get an injection to help keep my cancer at bay, and that injection when covered by insurance costs $400. Now I can’t even tell you what it would cost as an out-of-network patient,” she said.
Both companies say they’re continuing to work on an agreement.
In a statement, Colin Manning, a spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, said:
“We apologize to our consumers for any disruption this may cause and we are working hard to reach an agreement with Piedmont as quickly as possible. Our priority is to protect our consumers and ensure that they continue to have access to affordable health care through the Piedmont network.”
Piedmont Healthcare said on its website:
While Anthem Blue Cross has taken Piedmont out of its network, members can continue to see their Piedmont physicians, but in most cases will have a higher out-of-pocket costs. We know this is difficult for our patients, and we will do whatever we can to help our patients manage the impact of this disruption.