A dozen network doctors reject Anthem

November 5, 2007
American Health Network says its doctors in Kokomo, Russiaville and possibly other locations no longer will take new patients who are insured by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Indiana.

The announcement was issued yesterday, the physician network said, after Anthem refused to increase reimbursement rates even as the cost of providing care is "skyrocketing."

The change will take effect Nov. 10 at 12 doctors' practices in Kokomo and Russiaville. Other practices "may follow suit," according to a press statement from American Health.

"Anthem, unfortunately, has left us with little choice but to close our doors to new Anthem members," Dr. Ben Park, CEO of the network, said in a written statement. "Otherwise, the quality of care we provide suffers, or our doctors risk going out of business or moving out of town."

The policy will apply to current patients of American Health Network doctors who switch to Anthem from M-Plan. The Indianapolis-based health maintenance organization is recommending Anthem to its customers as it exits the HMO business.

"We are disappointed by their decision to turn away Anthem members," Anthem spokesman Tony Felts said in an e-mailed statement. "Anthem offers competitive reimbursement rates to providers across the state. Our members can choose from the largest provider network offered by any insurer in Indiana, a network that includes approximately 20 thousand physicians. We hope (American Health Network) will reconsider and that we can reach a fair resolution for our customers."

American Health Network, based in Indianapolis, is central Indiana's fourth largest physician group practice, according to IBJ research. It includes 108 physicians at 51 locations. The network also boasts 29 locations in Ohio.

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