Hausfeld achieves historic healthcare ruling in Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation
April 5, 2018 (Birmingham, AL) – On Thursday, the Honorable David R. Proctor granted Plaintiffs’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and ordered that agreements among Blue Cross Blue Shield entities across the country to allocate markets and limit competition will be reviewed as per se violations of the Sherman Act. Judge Proctor concluded: "Plaintiffs have presented evidence of an aggregation of competitive restraints…which, considered together, constitute a per se violation of the Sherman Act."
The litigation, originally filed in 2013, alleges that over 30 Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance companies have entered into agreements not to compete with each other for health insurance customers, both by allocating the markets in which they sell health insurance and capping the amount of unbranded health insurance they offer. Hausfeld represents a class of subscribers of health insurance alleging that these rules have artificially inflated premiums and decreased consumer choice in the market for health insurance.
In 2017, the parties briefed whether the challenged rules should be reviewed under a per se standard that would prevent Defendants from claiming procompetitive benefits for their agreements. Upon review of an extensive discovery record, including internal documents and Defendant testimony admitting the anticompetitive nature and purpose of the rules, Judge Proctor issued a 59-page decision agreeing with Plaintiffs that the rules must be accorded per se treatment.
“Our case alleges that, for decades, the Blue Cross Blue Shield system has operated as an illegal association of competitors trying to suppress competition in order to inflate their own profits at the expense of their customers,” said Hausfeld Chairman and Co-Lead Counsel Michael D. Hausfeld. “We look forward to taking our case to trial and achieving a nationwide injunction to stop these practices once and for all.”
“Thursday’s order is a victory for the millions of subscribers of Blue Cross Blue Shield healthcare,” said Megan Jones, Hausfeld Partner and Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee member. “We are proud to have taken a step closer to opening up the market for health insurance to true competition, to the benefit of all Americans. We want there to be more competition for everything from chemotherapy to casts for subscribers in the U.S., and Thursday’s decision advances that goal.”
Hausfeld attorneys working on this case are Michael Hausfeld, Megan Jones, Michael Lehmann, Scott Martin, Arthur Bailey Jr., Swathi Bojedla, and Braden Beard. The case is In re BCBS Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 13-cv-20000-RDP (N.D. Ala.).
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