YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Mercy Health and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio have reached a multi-year agreement providing Anthem members with continued access to care at all Mercy Health hospitals, care centers and physician offices.

Had the agreement not been reached, thousands of Ohioans were set to face an out-of-network expense at Mercy Health facilities beginning Oct. 1.

Anthem has agreed to cover any claims that patients may have incurred during the period of time that Mercy Health was out of network with Anthem Medicaid since July 1. The agreement also extends coverage for Anthem employer-based and Affordable Care Act plans. With the new contract, Anthem members covered by these plans will have access to affordable coverage at Mercy Health until 2028.

“I think the easiest way to explain this, Medicare eligibles don’t have to worry about any decision that may be made or has been made,” said Craig Villwock of TLC Insurance Group. “Medicare gives them lots of options to continue to be free and look at the plan that might fit them best.

“No one’s locked in anything either way,” Villwock said. “There’s plenty of options available. Come Oct. 1, they can start reviewing the plans with any agent like us and look at different options for Jan. 1 effective date as well.”

Details of the agreement are not being released due to confidentiality provisions in the contract.

As part of the agreement, Mercy Health has agreed to dismiss the Virginia lawsuit as the organizations form collaborative teams to address claims submissions and payment processes.

Anthem members may contact the Member Service phone number on their Anthem ID card for assistance with any questions. Mercy Health patients may also call 888-354-0205 for more information.