House panel backs curbs on ‘step therapy’ rules for medications
When Brannen Whirledge was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age 4, he was put on medications that failed to help him. He suffered continual vomiting and severe stomach cramps. Then they found a medication that worked. Brannen’s symptoms went away. But after six months, says his mother, Melissa Whirledge,... Read more
A real deal: Northside-Gwinnett merger finally gets federal approval
The wait is over. After years of delay while seeking regulatory approval, Northside Hospital and Gwinnett Health System said Tuesday that they have obtained federal approval to merge their operations. The merger, expected to be finalized this summer, will create a system with five hospitals, more than 250 outpatient... Read more
Claiming deception, two patients sue Anthem over rift with WellStar
Story updated 2/6 Two Cobb County residents filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, saying the insurer misled Georgia consumers into believing WellStar Health System was in its exchange network when they signed up for coverage. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Atlanta, is... Read more
Anthem, amid dispute with WellStar, gives exchange patients a (temporary) break
Story updated 2/6 Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has given people in the Georgia insurance exchange more time to visit WellStar Health System doctors and presumably not face higher out-of-pocket costs. The contract for exchange coverage between Anthem and Marietta-based WellStar ended Monday. But instead of making WellStar... Read more
Patients ‘frustrated’ as WellStar, Anthem near end of contract
The vast majority of contract disputes between health insurers and hospital systems get settled before the existing deal lapses. The agreement comes sometimes within hours of the deadline. One notable exception occurred last year, when Piedmont Healthcare’s contract with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia expired without a... Read more

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