ATLANTA (CBS46) -- Anthem BlueCross BlueShield is changing its emergency room policy.
A spokesperson for the health insurance company said patients with the common cold, allergy symptoms or athletes foot will not be covered and will have to pay the medical costs.
“Emergency room visits that would be better served going to a physician in an office setting will no longer be covered,” said BlueCross BlueShield spokesperson Debbie Diamond.
She said the change is to keep healthcare affordable and maintain quality.
Here’s how it will work: Each claim will be reviewed by an anthem medical director. She says the director will consider symptoms and diagnoses before deciding to foot the bill.
Members and non-members call the change unfair. One man said a trip to the ER will now make him uneasy.
The president of the Georgia College of Emergency Physicians agreed.
In a statement Matt Lynn said:
“The fear of a health care bill versus having an emergency medical condition can pose a dilemma for patients, leading to delays in emergency care, higher health care costs and most importantly complications in their health. Nearly One-in-four Americans responding to a poll reported that their medical conditions got worse after they delayed visiting an emergency department because they feared their health insurance companies would not cover the costs (Morning Consult 2016).”
Diamond urges patients to seek other options such as their primary doctor, urgent care or a retail medical clinic.
The policy change goes into effect July 1.
Read more: http://www.cbs46.com/story/35560396/emergency-room-visits-may-get-more-expensive#ixzz4isSZt8ed
© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.