No contract for Blue Cross Georgia, Piedmont Healthcare

About a half-million Piedmont Healthcare patients will have to find new healthcare providers to avoid out-of-network prices, after the the company and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia could not agree to new contract terms.

The previous contract ended at midnight without a new deal, said Piedmont spokesman Matt Gove.

The negotiations affected about a half-million current patients across the state. In recent days, a major group of customers received new insurance cards from Blue Cross with their doctor's name replaced. More than 100 lawmakers received a letter Thursday from Piedmont suggesting that Blue Cross intended to end the contract. The insurance provider posted a note to its customers Friday detailing how they could be affected.

Negotiations have gone down to the wire previously, but Piedmont has sued Blue Cross and its parent company, Anthem Inc., over a decision to no longer pay for some in-hospital MRIs and for emergency room visits the insurer deemed unwarranted.

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