Coming close to the latest wire, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Parkview Health have reached an agreement that will give Anthem members continued in-network access to all Parkview Health providers and facilities.

The two sides sent a joint announcement July 30 about the agreement, hours before the contract was set to expire at 11:59 p.m. It has taken months of back-and-forth discussions and repeated deadline extensions, with Anthem citing what it felt were higher-than-average costs charged by Parkview.

Mike Packnett, president and CEO, Parkview Health, said in an announcement of the multi-year agreement, “It was of the utmost importance to us that our patients have uninterrupted access to the Parkview physicians, care teams and facilities they trust,” said “Parkview has been focused on delivering the best care at the best cost, as we know it’s what our region’s patients and employers expect and deserve. As caregivers, we are grateful we can continue to provide high-quality care for every member of our community.”

David Lee, M.D., Vice President of Health Solutions for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, said in the announcement, “This agreement accomplishes what healthcare consumers want most — high quality care at an affordable price,” said “We listened to our customers and kept their concerns about healthcare affordability at the forefront during these contract discussions. We’re pleased to continue our partnership with Parkview Health and recognize the important role they play in the delivery of quality care to our members.”

Parkview spokeswoman Tami Brigle said she could not comment on the contract.

Anthem sought earlier this year to end its contract with Parkview over what it felt were Parkview’s “unsustainable prices that have the potential to put healthcare out of reach for the average person.” However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the contract was extended 90 days until July 28, then extended again through July 30.

Anthem has cited an independent study in 2019 by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research institute, that found that the costs Parkview charges private health plans, like Anthem, are nearly four times higher (395%) relative to the prices allowed by Medicare.

Anthem spokesman Tony Felts last week issued a statement from the company that said, “According to federal data, Indiana residents spend 4.4% more of their annual income on healthcare than the average American. That is why Anthem approached Parkview officials 10 months ago to begin conversations about a new contract that provides greater affordability.”

Parkview says the data in the RAND study is extremely limited; Medicare rates are not an appropriate benchmark for commercial rates; the RAND study uses misleading data; and Indiana’s insurance premiums are below average compared with other studied states.

Parkview said July 27, “We have continued to work toward a patient-centered solution and have presented Anthem with multiple options that will lower costs not only for patients, but also for employers.”

Anthem has kept patients informed on its own website at anthem.com/ftwaynebusinesscoalition.

Business Weekly has left a message for Felts.

Patients with questions can contact Anthem at the number on the back of their health insurance card or call Parkview at 1-844-241-0032, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

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