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Anthem, UnitedHealthcare, other insurers are running billions behind in payments to hospitals, doctors

Anthem Blue Cross SignAnthem Blue Cross, the country's second-biggest health insurance company, is behind on billions of dollars in payments owed to hospitals and doctors because of onerous new reimbursement rules, computer problems and mishandled claims, say hospital officials in multiple states.

Anthem, like other big insurers, is using the COVID-19 crisis as cover to institute "egregious" policies that harm patients and pinch hospital finances, said Molly Smith, group vice president at the American Hospital Association.

"There's this sense of, 'Everyone’s distracted. We can get this through,'" she said.

Hospitals are also dealing with a spike in retroactive claims denials by UnitedHealthcare, the biggest health insurer, for emergency department care, AHA says.

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