Anthem Blue Cross and Sutter Health System have just concluded successful contract negotiations, enabling tens of thousands of Anthem participants to continue receiving network benefits in 2014 at Sutter Health affiliates including Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Sutter Pacific and Mills-Peninsula. Without the agreement, network access could have ended on December 31, although the current contract also allowed for a transition period of six months.
Negotiations had centered around the reimbursement rates made to Sutter and how Anthem members might gain a clearer understanding of charges when comparing the costs of particular services. As Anthem Blue Cross president Mark Morgan was quoted in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the agreement "includes transparency measures that allow Anthem to inform our members of the bundled estimated costs of scheduled procedures at Sutter hospitals." Both sides are happy to have an agreement in place that seeks to strengthen the relationship between the two.
Anthem HMO members who use Sutter as their medical group will receive a letter from Anthem in the next few days to let them know they will not be reassigned to a different medical group, as they had been previously notified in early November.
This agreement follows successful contract negotiations between Sutter and Cigna Healthcare, although with only two weeks left in 2013 Sutter remains in negotiations with other carriers including Aetna, United Healthcare and Healthnet. For the complete list of health plans accepted at Sutter Health facilities, visit the Sutter website.