Bon Secours and Anthem negotiate future of partnership - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Bon Secours and Anthem negotiate future of partnership

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Big changes could be on the way for patients who use Bon Secours' medical facilities. The company has notified Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield it's prepared to end its relationship.

It's a battle each company is fighting to win. Leaders with Bon Secours and Anthem Blue Cross met Monday to negotiate a deal, but if talks fall through- there could be serious consequences for patients.

Millions of patients in Virginia subscribe to Anthem Blue Cross for insurance. It's why Bon Secours representatives say they're hoping to arrive at a deal soon. But if not - current subscribers could soon pay the price.

As a bitter battle heats up, the news is hitting both company's customers hard.

"I work three jobs right now to afford to pay them so I can go to the doctor," said Lasondya Caraballo.

She is just learning her insurance provider is in a squabble with one of the region's leading health systems.

"I pay a lot of money to go see those good doctors at St. Francis," Caraballo said.

Co-pays could go even higher for Anthem-insured patients who use Bon Secours' facilities. To get around it, patients would have to find new health care providers. It's all because after more than 15 years in partnership, Anthem Blue Cross and Bon Secours are now in a contract dispute. Anthem just received a letter of termination from Bon Secours come November of this year.

"It's to both parties interest, both Bon Secours and Blue Cross to come to an agreement – and they will. It just takes a while, kind of, to make sure that everybody's needs are being met," said Doug Gray with the Virginia Association of Health Plans.

Health leaders say this process is all a part of routine negotiations Monday, both sides met again. Bon Secours says it wants patients to have the right to choose when and where they get care. If no deal is reached, leaders from Anthem say they will do all they can to help keep customers' out of pocket costs down.

"Sometimes it takes a while for both parties to understand each other's concerns and come to a mutual beneficial arrangement. Generally, they get worked out," Gray added.

Countless patients are relying on it.

"I'm aging now and I'll probably make more visits and we use a lot of medication now," Katherine Sale said.

These negotiations have been ongoing for about a year now. Monday's meeting is another step in the process to arrive at a beneficial deal for both parties.

A spokesperson for Anthem says it is rare to receive a notice of termination while in the middle of contract negotiations, but he says both sides are working in good faith to arrive at an agreement.

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