Hartford Healthcare and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced early Saturday morning that they had reached a multi-year deal.

The two companies had been in a stalemate for seven weeks after their current contract expired and they could not come to an agreement.

This left many who are covered by Anthem find themselves with doctors who were out-of-network now and have to make the tough decision of covering large bills, finding a new provider or foregoing care.

The new agreement is effective immediately and will be retroactive to October 1, when the prior deal had expired. This means patients who received care during the 7-week period were their provider was considered out-of-network will now be able to have their bills readjusted for in network costs.

In a statement sent out by Anthem President Jill R. Hummel acknowledged the problems the disruption in coverage caused for their customers. "Our members remain our number one priority as we worked hard and in good faith to find common ground and reach [an] agreement. We are very pleased that they are immediately regaining in-network access to all of the hospitals and providers that are part of the Hartford Healthcare system."

The new deal is good for three years.

Hartford Healthcare Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Flaks said "Connecticut residents deserve access to healthcare that is second to none. Our fair agreement with Anthem helps ensure that will be the case".

Flaks also apologized for the issues many patients experienced during the negotiations, "We deeply understand and regret the inconvenience and disruption that being out-of-network has caused our patients and communities. I speak for all my colleagues at Hartford Healthcare in thanking out patients for their understanding during this difficult time."

Hummel added they are "happy that the end result is a fair agreement with sustainable increases and additional incentives that reward HHC hospitals for improvements in patient safety."

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