MOUNT VERNON — Rolls-Royce employees are among those individuals potentially impacted by the contract dispute between Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield and doctors employed by Knox Community Hospital; Anthem is the medical insurance carrier for Rolls.
The News spoke with several Rolls-Royce employees about the medical care impasse, and many said they were peeved with the whole situation.
One employee said necessary medical treatment will cost him $10,000 to $20,000 out-of-pocket before his insurance kicks in. “It’s out of network,” he said, “and they’re abusing this out-of-network thing. It’s just crazy.”
Other workers, like Ray Wilson, said they did not like having to go out of town for medical care.
“I have a local doctor,” one said, “ but if I have an accident I’ll have to tell them to Life-Flight me to Columbus.”
Several employees said their doctor, in independent practice, was in Anthem’s network, while others stated they haven’t yet had to deal with the situation.
“Fortunately for me and my family,” said Bud Fulton, “we haven’t had to go to the doctor. What aggravates me personally is that some of my friends have had to go to Licking County for health care.”
Rolls-Royce is not currently seeking an alternative healthcare insurance provider because their contract with Anthem covers all of its employees in North America.
Rolls-Royce spokesman Gary Hyman said, “A primary focus of Rolls-Royce is the well-being of our employees and their families. We provide an attractive and competitive benefits package to employees, including comprehensive healthcare insurance administered by Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield through a national contract between Rolls-Royce North America and Anthem.
“The contract between Anthem and the Knox Community Hospital Physician’s Group expired in October 2011. Measures are in place to ensure there is no lapse in healthcare coverage for our employees.
“We are currently preparing multiple on-site communications sessions to explain the situation to employees and ensure they can continue to make the best healthcare decisions for themselves and their families.”
For those people who have individual rather than group coverage through their employer, insurance agents should be able to help them find a new health insurance company, said William Purse of Financial Targeting Services.
“We will switch plans if we need to,” he said. “If people have the Anthem/Medicare supplemental insurance, the contract stalemate between Anthem and KCH is not an issue because Medicare is the primary carrier so it doesn’t matter who the secondary carrier is. So, if they have a Medicare supplement with Anthem whether there’s a contract with the hospital-employed physician or not, it’s not relevant. If people have the Anthem Medicare Advantage plan, that’s an issue for out-of-network charges. If it’s an emergency situation, though, it’s not relevant. If it’s elective, we’re finding that people will go to Licking County and Columbus. The thing that happens is, a lot of my clients really don’t care if they go to Knox Community Hospital or not.”