Washington Hospital might not accept Anthem Blue Cross after Jan. 7

washingtonhospitalI’m still getting the details on this: Washington Hospital and Anthem Blue Cross, the state’s largest insurer, are still negotiating a new contract. If they don’t come to terms by Jan. 7, Anthem Blue Cross customers could find themselves paying out of network prices to go to Washington Hospital.

Major insurers and large hospitals have been haggling all over the country over rates hospitals charge to insurers. Insurers want to keep rates low to keep premiums for continuing to skyrocket. Hospitals lose money on Medicare patients, so they need to charge private insurers a lot to make money.

Some of those rates are kind of shocking. One Fremont resident who had a joint replacement surgery at Washington a few years ago showed me his bill in disbelief. Washington was charging his private insurer $157 for an ice pack.

UPDATE: Just talked to a health care policy professional who said that the health insurers actually pay lower rates than the itemized costs in the bills. That’s a good thing because on the bill, Washington was charging $26 for one pill of generic Vicodin.

If I get his permission, I’ll post the bill here with personal info redacted.

For those with Anthem Blue Cross and a medical condition, it does appear that these negotiations usually go down to the last minute and are then resolved. The same thing happened in December with nearby El Camino Hospital.

Meanwhile, Washington is keeping patients updated on negotiations with a special page on its website.

Matt Artz


  1. Maybe if the Washington Hospital Healthcare System wasn’t paying their CEO over $800K a year, they could “afford” to charge private insurance companies less.

    Washington is a terrible hospital anyhow – unless I was in desperate need of immediate medical attention, I would not allow myself or any family members to be admitted there.

  2. Washigton Hospital is suppose to be a community hospital, not a club where medical proffesionals are lining there pockets at our expense.
    How do we, as a community take back our hospital?
    Never thought I would say, I am glad to be a member of Kaiser!

  3. “Washington was charging his private insurer $157 for an ice pack.” Now you know how they can afford Farber’s salary.

    Did he at least get a bottle of Diva Vodka with the ice pack?

  4. My son nearly died at Washington due to their negligence and incompetence and I have an apology letter to prove it. They are a poor facility and now no longer support the community in their fight with Blue Cross – so why, exactly, do my tax dollars go to support this substandard institution? I ALWAYS go to Palo Alto Medical or Stanford, I would NEVER go to Washington unless there was no other option.

  5. Washington Hospital’s Board is the most incompetent rubber stamp of the very fat salary of Farber, the CEO.
    It is time to boycott this hospital.

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