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Is it an emergency? Insurer makes patients question ER visit

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By TOM MURPHY
AP Health Writer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Doctors and patients are worried about a push by the nation's second-largest health insurer to limit emergency room visits to major problems like heart attacks or strokes.

The Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem has notified customers in a few U.S. states that they may foot the bill if they go to the ER for minor complaints. It's the latest attempt by the insurance industry to crack down on unnecessary and pricey hospital trips.

Anthem says it's focusing on claims the average person knows should not be seen in the ER.

But doctors say this policy may scare people away from the ER in a real emergency.

The insurer has warned patients in Kentucky, Georgia and Missouri and will add other states where it sees a rise in unnecessary ER visits.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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