An ‘Impossible Situation’: Why California Hospitals are Suing a Major Health Insurer

The California Hospital Association filed a lawsuit against Anthem Blue Cross, alleging slow insurance approvals result in delays for patients and unnecessary hospital costs. Here, a medical worker pushes a bed through the corridors of Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital in Hollister on March 30, 2023. Photo by Larry Valenzuela, CalMatters/CatchLight Local

By Kristen Hwang, Calmatters

Medical insurance delays can keep someone in a hospital bed much longer than they need to be waiting for after-care services like home health care. Those delays can also block hospitals from using beds needed for new patients.

California hospitals have long complained about those delays, and in a new lawsuit, they’re suing one of the state’s largest health insurers to force it to speed its approvals of secondary treatment.

The California Hospital Association, which represents more than 400 hospitals, filed the complaint against Anthem Blue Cross in Los Angeles County Superior Court Tuesday. The complaint alleges Anthem is violating the state’s long-standing patient protection laws, which require insurers to provide health care in a timely manner, and engaging in unfair business practices. It also claims that Anthem refuses to pay for the excess hospital days caused by its delays.


Written by CalMatters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics. (Articles are published in partnership with

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