Blue Cross and Blue Shield to Appeal Federal Court Ruling

Arkansas' largest health insurance company says a judge's ruling hurts its efforts in controlling costs.

With more than 800 thousand customers in the state, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans to appeal a judge's decision to let a 1995 law go into effect.

The law is known as the Patient Protection Act. It requires health insurance companies to accept claims from any doctor willing to meet their conditions.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield customer Stefan Goodis of Jonesboro is in favor of this law.

Goodis visits with Chiropractor Rob Ziegler, who is not a Blue Cross and Blue Shield Network Doctor.

"I just decided that it was well worth it for me to just go ahead and pay out of my pocket, because that's where I wanted to go," said Goodis.

"Everytime I call to try to get into the network they just say we don't have any openings," said Ziegler.

But now the campaign to become a part of the network is over. Goodis and Ziegler are enthusiastic about a federal ruling, issued last week that forces insurers like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arkansas to open up its massive statewide managed care network to any provider willing to abide by its network rules.

"When there is competition you usually get a better value and you usually get a better service," said Ziegler.

Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe is applauding this federal ruling.

"I'm proud to have fought the injunction. Arkansans now have the rights to choose the doctors and hospitals that are best for them," said Beebe.

A spokesperson with Blue Cross and Blue Shield says they are not pleased with this decision. They are appealing the decision, saying that Blue Cross and Blue Shield is trying to keep costs affordable by offering a variety of products, some of which can be found in outside networks.

They will take their case to the 8th U-S Circuit Court of Appeals in Saint Louis.

The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled against insurers in a similar case in Kentucky.