About 400,000 affected patients are following contract negotiations between Atlanta-based Northside Hospital System and Anthem, which has set a Dec. 31 deadline to reach an agreement, according to 11ALive.
Anthem cites rising medical costs as the motivator behind negotiations, according to the payer's website. The insurer claimed Northside was the second most expensive health system in the state and 33rd most expensive in the country.
"Our priority is protecting our members' access to high-quality, affordable healthcare," Anthem said on its website. "We are actively negotiating in good faith and hope to reach a new agreement before the contract ends later this year."
Northside said it was surprised by the negotiation call, as it claimed agreements were not yet up for renewal, according to its website. However, the health system committed to negotiating.
"We also believe that both Northside Hospital and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield can find a solution — as long as every discussion begins, and ends, with a commitment to ensure access to quality healthcare for the citizens of the Atlanta region," Northside said. "This is the necessary outcome."
If negotiations fall through, Northside's seven hospitals and specialty facilities, as well as its urgent care locations and physician groups, will be out of network in 2022.