BIRMINGHAM, Ala., June 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. District Court Judge R. David Proctor has issued an order and opinion denying a request by Blue Cross Blue Shield Association to dismiss claims that the company and its members violated federal antitrust laws.
The lawsuit against the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.
Two sets of plaintiffs, health care providers who treat patients covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield and subscribers to Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, allege member companies of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association agreed not to operate outside of designated service areas, ensuring that they would not compete against each other. Plaintiffs claim the agreement resulted in increased premiums for subscribers and decreased reimbursements for providers due to a lack of insurance options and an anti-competitive market. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, for example, controls 90 percent of the market.
Edith Kallas and Joe R. Whatley, Jr. of the WhatleyKallas Litigation & Healthcare Group have been appointed lead counsel in the antitrust action on behalf of healthcare providers. The litigation could potentially result in a dramatic impact on the country's healthcare system.
"Our economy thrives on competition and when there is true competition, everyone benefits including patients, physicians and other healthcare providers," said Joe R. Whatley, Jr., senior partner.
The Providers also have brought a price fixing claim against the Blue Cross companies based on the Blue Card and the National Accounts Program in which all the Blue Cross companies use the same fee schedule for each Provider. The Court has not yet ruled on the motion to dismiss the price fixing claims.
Case name: In Re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation MDL 2406, number: 2:13 –cv-20000-RDP, document number 204. A copy of the opinion can be found here, and a copy of the order can be found here.
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