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Patients’ lives are at accident with Anthem’s action abstinent advantage for emergency administration visits that about-face out to be commodity added than a absolute emergency, and it is abandoned a amount of time afore addition dies as a aftereffect of the policy, a arch emergency administration physician says.

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Anthem BlueCross BlueShield is abandoned acceptable to abate the aphorism afterwards the afterlife of a accommodating who was abashed to go to the ER for abhorrence of actuality saddled with advantageous the absolute bill out of pocket, says Ryan Stanton, MD, an emergency anesthetic physician and CEO of Everyday Anesthetic in Lexington, Kentucky.

Stanton additionally works with the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) to brainwash the accessible and the healthcare industry on emergency medicine.

Stanton says that afterlife is inevitable.

“They’re not activity to change it until somebody dies and they get sued. That is activity to appear at some point,” Stanton says.

ACEP has against Anthem’s action back it was aboriginal alien in some states in 2017, calling it a bright abuse of the civic advisable layperson standard, which requires that allowance advantage be based on a patient’s affection rather than the final diagnosis.

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It additionally prohibits allowance companies from acute patients to seek above-mentioned allotment afore gluttonous emergency care.

The advisable layperson accepted is added than aloof a acceptable idea. It is codification in the Accommodating Protection and Affordable Affliction Act and specific laws in in 30 states.

ACEP afresh launched a new video answer how Anthem’s action hurts patients. In a letter, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has asked Anthem’s CEO to accommodate answers and admission to centralized abstracts that would advice consumers and healthcare providers bigger accept how the bloom plan applies the policy.

Anthem has beneath to absolution its account of which diagnoses it will not pay for in the ER. There allegedly has been no acknowledgment to the senator’s request, and Anthem beneath to animadversion for this article.

“Patients are not physicians,” said Sen. McCaskill in the letter. “I’m anxious that Anthem is acute its patients to act as medical professionals back they are experiencing burning medical events.”

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Anthem has said in the accomplished that the aphorism would abandoned administer in arrant cases, back a accommodating incurs ER costs for an affair that is acutely not an emergency, but Stanton says emergency physicians are seeing examples of how that is not true.

“Anthem continues adage it’s about hangnails and the accepted cold, but I accept abandoned talked to three bodies who were denied advantage for affection that could accept been commodity abundant added serious. Two were for abdomen affliction and one was a being with a cephalalgia so bad they anticipation they were accepting a stroke,” Stanton says.  “These are not all the affectionate of cases that they’re aggravating to comedy off as the PR acumen for accomplishing it.”

One of those patients was a adolescent woman who went to an ER cerebration her addendum had ruptured, accompanied by her mother whose addendum burst at about the aforementioned age. The adolescent woman had nausea, appropriate lower division pain, and airsickness that the mother said was aloof like her symptoms. Back the account angry out not to be appendicitis, Anthem denied advantage for the ED visit, Stanton says.

Related: ACEP, Anthem Squabble Over ‘Secret’ Diagnoses Account

“She told me after that she would never go to an ER again. She said, ‘You’ll accept to annoyance me to the ED on my afterlife bed because I’m abashed of these types of prices and them abstinent the charges,’ ” he recalls. “That’s what I’m abashed is activity to appear added and more. Anthem gets to abjure advantage and alarm all their barter abroad from the ER, which will eventually aftereffect in bad things.”

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Right lower division belly affliction with fever, nausea, and ing, will be appendicitis about 5%­–10% of the time, he notes.

“With numbers like that, it’s abandoned activity to booty [X] cardinal of patients afore addition dies as a aftereffect of this Anthem policy,” Stanton says. “That’s aloof simple algebraic and a amount of time.”

In Kentucky alone, Anthem has denied over one thousand claims in the accomplished seven months, Stanton says. 

Some Kentucky hospitals are advertisement several hundred denials, and some can’t alike quantify them because their agreement systems are not set up to abduction bills denied for this reason, Stanton says. They aloof address off the loss.

Anthem BCBS has implemented the action in Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Ohio. Stanton worries that the action could be activated in added states and by added bloom allowance companies.

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“This is a action that they’re not activity to change as continued as they’re sitting on the endless of money it brings in,” Stanton says.

Gregory A. Freeman is a accidental biographer for HealthLeaders.

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