Lehigh Valley Health Network is dropping a major insurance provider.
Aetna will no longer be accepted, effective March 13, 2023, LVHN announced Thursday.
That means patients with Aetna can still get in-network care until that date, for the next 120 days, the health network said.
After that, patients can continue care out-of-network, or pay out of pocket.
The termination does not apply to children's health insurance plans through "Aetna Better Health Kids," LVHN said. Care through those plans will continue to be in-network, even after 120 days.
LVHN said it is ending its relationship with Aetna because of unpaid bills that have been stacking up since 2017. The health network says Aetna routinely denies and delays claims, despite LVHN trying to resolve these issues.
"We have spent the past five years trying to reach a resolution with Aetna, but they have refused efforts to resolve in good faith," LVHN said in a letter obtained by 69 News. "... Aetna has missed the timeline both parties agreed to, creating further delays, and has failed to pay for care that LVHN has provided to its patients."
LVHN said it is hoping to reach a "fair agreement" with the insurance giant before March.
Doctors say they are committed to continuing care for ongoing treatment plans, like patients fighting cancer or pregnant women.
The health network says it will regularly send reminders to patients leading up to that date, but in the meantime, everyone should keep their scheduled appointments and procedures.
Aetna released a statement Thursday afternoon: "Aetna is dedicated to providing our members with access to affordable care that is local, convenient and helps achieve better health. Lehigh Valley Health Network is a valued partner to us in this endeavor. For our clients and members, we will continue to negotiate in good faith with Lehigh Valley Health Network with an eye toward reaching a mutually satisfactory resolution for all."
Those with questions can call 888-402-5846 or visit a website with more information and FAQs.