Patients get additional relief in Georgia health care fight

Patients caught in the middle of a contract dispute between insurance giant Anthem and the Atlanta-area’s Northside Hospital system are getting an additional reprieve.

A Fulton County judge extended a temporary restraining order, enabling Anthem members to remain fully covered and in-network at Northside’s hospitals, clinics and physician practices through April 15.

It also includes a provision for a settlement conference between Anthem and Northside by Feb. 25.

Anthem members were facing the possibility that their in-network coverage for Northside hospitals and doctors would end Monday. The two sides have been fighting over payments for treatment for months. The dispute could affect hundreds of thousands of patients.

Northside said in a statement it is aware of the stress and frustration of Anthem members and their families and is seeking a deal that provides the best benefits to patients and their families.

Anthem said in a statement it has given Northside a fair and reasonable proposal with generous increases.