St. Francis, Anthem continue talks

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The St. Francis hospital system has postponed the threatened termination of its contract with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana until Friday, Nov. 7.

St. Francis had promised to cancel its contract at midnight Nov. 2, saying Anthem has been slow to pay claims and hasn’t granted St. Francis terms similar to other area hospitals. The contract originally was scheduled to end in 2009.

An Anthem spokesman said St. Francis had asked for a 50-percent increase in reimbursement rates, which would hurt Anthem’s customers.

But after a weekend of “intense negotiations” and “significant progress,” St. Francis said in a news release, “both parties indicated optimism that final details of a long-term contract extension would be finalized by Nov. 7.”

The talks affect St. Francis hospitals in Beech Grove, Indianapolis and Mooresville, as well as eight other hospitals in Indiana. All those facilities are owned by Mishawaka-based Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Inc.

Anthem is the largest health insurer in Indiana and represents about 2 million commercial customers.

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