Centura Health and Anthem BlueCross BlueShield have finalized terms of a statewide, three-year agreement to take effect May 1.
The new agreement, reached late Thursday, ensures patients insured by Anthem will continue to have access to health care through Centura Health, including Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango.
“Our relationship with Anthem is as strong as ever and coming together as partners demonstrates our combined commitment to meet the health care needs of consumers,” Centura spokeswoman Jennifer Wills wrote in an email.
Southwest Colorado residents were stricken with concern recently when Anthem announced that it might drop Centura Health, which includes Mercy, from its network as a result of disputes over a contract renewal. A letter dated March 24 that was sent to Anthem customers said the two companies had failed to reach a new contract agreement or extend the current contract.
Mercy is Southwest Colorado’s largest medical provider, and Anthem is the second-largest insurer in the state, with about 1 million members.
“This situation highlights the potential for problems when communities have few choices in both health care and health insurance,” Joe Hanel, manager of public policy outreach for Colorado Health Institute, said in a previous interview.
Neither Anthem nor Centura would discuss specifics of the negotiations, but an Anthem official suggested the disagreement was about reimbursement rates.
“We’ve reached a new contract agreement with Centura Health that ensures Anthem members will have continued access to medical care from Centura doctors and facilities across the state,” Anthem spokesman Tony Felts wrote in an email.
He declined further comment about the agreement.