PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Bon Secours Mercy Health Virginia is now suing Anthem, alleging the health insurance provider has failed to pay insurance claims in a timely manner over the past several years.

The non-profit Catholic health care system filed the lawsuit in Richmond Circuit Court, saying it’s worked nearly four years with Anthem to resolve the issues, but Anthem remains years behind in overdue debt in many cases.

This news comes just a week after WAVY reported that the two entities were engaged in tense negotiations over whether thousands of Medicare and Medicaid patients will go out of network.

Bon Secours says that Anthem has also increase its denials overall, leading to more than $20 million in denial write-offs since 2020.

In response to the lawsuit, a spokesperson for Anthem provided this statement:

This lawsuit is another attempt to distract from Bon Secours’ decision to leave Anthem’s provider network and deny access to care for Medicaid and Medicare Advantage members. We do not agree with the allegations stated in the lawsuit.

This is the latest tactic in their efforts to demand double digit price increases from employers and individuals – in the middle of an active contract with Anthem. With these actions, they are closing off opportunities to work collaboratively, despite numerous requests to refocus the discussion and reach a solution.

As recently as last Thursday, we reached out to Mercy Health national leadership for a meeting and Friday to Bon Secours’ Virginia leadership requesting that they rescind the Medicare Advantage termination and intent to terminate Medicaid access on 10/1/23. We have not heard back. We urge Bon Secours to engage in productive discussions instead of these unproductive tactics that continue to spread misinformation and put vulnerable populations at risk. 

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield statement