US: Blue Cross can’t escape market division lawsuit

A federal judge has denied a request by insurance giant Blue Cross to have an Alabama antitrust lawsuit against the company tossed, allowing the case accusing Blue Cross of illegally dividing up the market to proceed.

First filed in 2012, the lawsuit accuses Blue Cross and its subsidiaries, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, of causing a “complete lack of meaningful competition” through its business practices. The individual Blue Cross companies are run separately, but are joined by a board of directors who discuss anticompetitive agreements between each other to divide up the market across the country, the plaintiffs claim. The suit notes that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama holds the largest market share in a single state of any other insurer.

The suit was filed by Blue Cross subscribers and health care providers.

Blue Cross had filed a motion for the case to be dismissed last October, but earlier this year 14 law professors from throughout the US filed a brief advising US District Judge David Proctor against tossing the lawsuit.

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