Illinois Community Healthcare System Ends Contract With Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield

Illinois Community Healthcare System Ends Contract With Anthem Blue Cross Blue ShieldIllinois’ Community Healthcare System Ends Contract With Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield

The Chicago Tribune reports that the relationship between the health system and the insurer ended Dec. 31 and is expected to impact the health care choices of thousand of patients. Also, Kaiser Health News notes a trend in which more employers are offering workers critical illness plans.

The Chicago Tribune: Community Heathcare Ends Contract With Anthem After months of negotiations, Community Healthcare System terminated its contract with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield on Dec. 31, which could limit health care choices for thousands of customers. An estimated 30 percent of patients at CHS hospitals have Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, according to Community Healthcare System spokesperson Mylinda Cane, and as a result of the contract ending, those patients will be considered “out of network” and thus face higher out-of-pocket costs for services at Community Hospital in Munster, St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart. (Lazerus, 1/5)

Kaiser Health News: More Employers Offer Plans That Provide Lump Sums For Critical Illnesses Insurance policies that pay a lump sum if workers get cancer or another serious illness are being offered in growing numbers by employers. Companies say they want to help protect their workers against the financial pain of increasingly high deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. But it’s important to understand the limitations of these plans before buying. Critical illness plans have been around for decades, but they have become more common lately as employers have shifted more health care costs onto their workers’ shoulders. (Andrews, 1/5)

Still, the New York Times notes that a recent poll raises questions about insurance’s role as a safety net —

The New York Times: Upshot: Lost Jobs, Houses, Savings: Even Insured Often Face Crushing Medical Debt Here is the surest way to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having health insurance: Don’t get sick. The number of uninsured Americans has fallen by an estimated 15 million since 2013, thanks largely to the Affordable Care Act. But a new survey, the first detailed study of Americans struggling with medical bills, shows that insurance often fails as a safety net. (Margot Sanger-Katz, 1/5)

In other news, Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace, said Monday that the exchange reached more than 80 percent of its 2016 enrollment goal —

Minnesota Public Radio: MNsure Nears 2016 Private-Plan Enrollment Goal MNsure said Monday it has reached more than 80 percent of its 2016 private-plan enrollment goal. Almost 68,000 people enrolled in 2016 private health insurance plans between Nov. 1 and Dec. 28, MNsure said. (Zdechlik, 1/4)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

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