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Insurance Changes

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     Residents with Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance, specifically Anthem, will soon have more choices for health care in Missouri.
When picking a health care provider, we'd prefer to choose the best care.
However, insurance companies want us to choose their preferred providers, restricting our choices, and causing headaches for people when they get sick.
Now, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield -- is opening the door to more healthcare choices in Missouri.
Godfrey: "So, January 1st, Mercy will be in-network with Anthem, for the first time many years."
But, there are still some limitations.
The only plans Anthem will be covering at Mercy is Blue Access, Pathway and Pathway X, as well as the Medicare Advantage Network.
Godfrey says there are several factors that determine what plans become eligible.
Godfrey: "Well, a lot of that just depends on the different health care systems in the market, but then also related to the insurance company and what those partnerships are, and then, of course, the employers and the people in the community, they have a choice in this as well."
And it's choices that make a difference -- Godfrey says it opens up the market.
Godfrey: "It offers that, that competition for price, for contracting, for, for quality, but this way, everybody's got that choice now."
Godfrey also tells us the change will reduce the need for residents to travel to hospitals in other communities or states for services.
The changes will take place starting January 1st, 2018.
     One Anthem plan not being extended to Mercy is the Blue Preferred Network, which is covered at Freeman.
     President and CEO Paula Baker told us in a statement that she's "Pleased that Anthem chose to leave that exclusively in Freeman's hands".
     And that the health system "Will continue to welcome all Anthem patients and serve them with the highest professional standards".

Chris Warner
Reporter

A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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