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Anthem of Missouri Making Changes To ER Visit Coverage - KOAM TV 7

Anthem of Missouri Making Changes To ER Visit Coverage

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     A major insurance provider is making some changes that will affect a good number of four state residents.
     Changes that surround ER visits.
You have health insurance, then, you get a letter that sounds a little like this...
Kjersti McDonald, Anthem Missouri member: "We're changing our policy on emergency room visits, so if it's not an emergency, don't go to the emergency room, and that was pretty much the only parameter I was given."
That's what's happened recently to members of Anthem Missouri, Kentucky, and Georgia.
Anthem officially announced the change today, after mailing out letters to patients.
In the past...
Chareese Brust, Manager, Population Health, Freeman: "If a patient isn't sure if they're in a crisis or an emergency situation and they went to the ER, Anthem just covered, they didn't deem it avoidable or unavoidable.
Now, Anthem is sending out a list of what is and isn't an avoidable situation and what they will and won't cover.
That's causing some issues for already financially strapped patients.
Brust: "So we already have them trying to control their health compared to finances as it is, so now, knowing that you're going to get a large bill if you go to the emergency room or could potentially get a large bill, and you don't have the finances to cover that, a lot of people may try to wait it out."
That can lead to some thinking like Kjersti McDonald...
McDonald: "If I have you know, a finger that I cut off, is going to the stitches, to get stitches considered an emergency, or, you know, am I going to be billed for the entire bill."
Leaving her to make medical calls on her own.
McDonald: "It is extremely stressful because now down the road, I'm going to have to consider whether or not the pain that I'm experiencing is considered an emergency so that I can be treated for it, or if I'm going to just have to endure and see my family physician."
     Freeman officials say they're doing what they can to educate the public about the changes to help ease some of the stress and anxiety.

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Chris Warner
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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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