News

Deposition: Blue Cross Misstated Rates for Years to Alabama Regulators

 

November 1, 2016

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama had a policy for years of charging rates different from those filed with state regulators, a practice that violated state law according to attorneys suing the company in federal court.

The policy resulted in overcharges of $5 million for some small groups and undercharges of $35 million for others, according to depositions.

The practice came to light after U.S. District Judge David Proctor unsealed depositions on Oct. 18 in a massive anti-trust case against 38 Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates, including Alabama. The central issue in the case is whether Blue Cross affiliates in different states conspired to limit competition in order to charge higher rates to subscribers and offer lower payments to medical providers.

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Depositions Suggest Blue Cross/Blue Shield Rate Variations Were Kept from Lawmakers & the Public

MONTGOMERY—Newly released depositions in a class-action antitrust lawsuit against Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) give rise to charges of inflated rates and a nationally coordinated plan to control insurance markets, according to federal court filings.

A written statement received by the Alabama Political Reporterclaims, “Blue Cross and Blue Shield are defendants in a series of federal class actions alleging that the Blues are engaging in a nationwide conspiracy to suppress competition in violation of federal antitrust law, including unlawfully conspiring to divide up their respective markets and agreeing to suppress competition among themselves within those markets artificially.”

 

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Judge Proctor Unseals Two Depositions

Judge Proctor Unseals Two Depositions

Birmingham, Alabama — Defendant Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama sought to designate the deposition of it’s Chief Actuary, Noel Carden, as well as the deposition of Steven Ostlund, of the Alabama Department of Insurance, as “sealed documents” in an attempt to prevent the public from viewing their testimony. Plaintiffs’ Attorneys representing the proposed class objected to the depositions being sealed. After the parties briefed the issue, Judge David Proctor, of the Northern District of Alabama, issued an Order on October 18, 2016 unsealing the two depositions.

To read Judge David Proctor’s Order click here:

to-read-judge-david-proctors-order

To read the Deposition of Noel Carden click here:

to-read-the-deposition-of-noel-carden

To read the Deposition of Steven Ostlund click here:

to-read-the-deposition-of-steven-ostlund

Blue Cross Conspiracy Lawsuit Could have ‘Enormous Impact on Competition’ in Health Care, Legal Article Asserts

July 07, 2014

Mike Oliver

(AL.com) – BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — A federal judge’s ruling June 18 that an antitrust lawsuit filed in federal court here can continue has inspired several legal write-ups highlighting the significance of the case.

“The results of this challenge to the structure of the Blues could have an enormous impact on competition in the health care industry,” states a legal analysis by Robert Craig for Taft Stettinius & Hollister.

Read full article at al.com

Blue Cross Conspiracy Lawsuit Will Proceed, Judge Rules

June 19, 2014

Mike Oliver

(AL.com) – BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — A lawsuit alleging Blue Cross companies of conspiring in Alabama and across the country to illegally stifle competition will continue after a judge’s ruling filed Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge David Proctor in Birmingham denied motions by Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans, which are independent companies across the United States, to have antitrust case thrown out.

Read full article at al.com

Blue Cross Model Has Been Legally “Validated” It Says in Response to Antitrust Suit

January 24, 2014

Mike Oliver

(AL.com) – Blue Cross and Blue Shield defendants in an antitrust lawsuit said the suit is without merit and the Blue Cross model is legally sound.

The general statement of defense came in response to a filing this week by law professors supporting an ongoing antitrust lawsuit against Blue Cross organizations across the country.

Read full article at al.com

More Than a Dozen Law Professors Support Antitrust Lawsuit Against Blue Cross

January 23, 2014

Mike Oliver

(AL.com) – BIRMINGHAM, Alabama –Fourteen law professors from around the country filed “a friend of the court” brief in support of a lawsuit that alleges Blue Cross organizations across the country have conspired to eliminate competition.

The amici curiae brief is in opposition to a Blue Cross motion to dismiss the lawsuit. It was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Birmingham where the consolidated lawsuit has been brought.

Read full article at al.com

Lawsuit Alleging Blue Cross Conspiracy to Illegally Eliminate Competition Should Continue, Court Filings State

January 17, 2014

Mike Oliver

(AL.com) – BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Lawyers suing Blue Cross and Blue Shield for conspiring in Alabama and across the country to illegally stifle competition forcefully argued in briefs filed this week that the case should not be dismissed.

“This case is simple,” begins one of filings opposing Blue Cross’ motion to dismiss the suit.

Read full article at al.com

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama is Part of Conspiracy to Keep Out Competition, Lawsuit Alleges

December 22, 2013

Mike Oliver

(AL.com) – A federal lawsuit winding its way through federal court in Birmingham accuses Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama and about three dozen other Blue Cross plans of conspiring with each other, agreeing not to compete and dividing territory to limit competition.

The class action lawsuit, which alleges violation of federal antitrust laws through a “complete lack of meaningful competition,” helps explain the relationship between BCBS of Alabama and the broader Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Local businesses such as BCBS of Alabama, although independently run, are linked by the Chicago-based, nationally run BCBSA with a board of directors.

Read full article at al.com

Behind Alabama’s Big Blue: The Health Insurance Giant with the Power to Tell Obama ‘No’

December 22, 2013

Alex Walsh

(AL.com) – If you’re going to talk about health care in Alabama, there’s one company that has to be part of the conversation.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama is one of the largest businesses in the state with $4 billion in revenue, the insurer with the largest market share in a single state by far, according to the American Medical Association.

Read full article at al.com