U.S. Magistrate Judge T. Michael Putnam wants to know if Blue Cross of Alabama in effect forced some hospitals to close. He ordered plaintiffs to produce any documents that support the allegation that the insurer’s antitrust conduct has caused hospitals or other healthcare facilities to close.
Becker’s Hospital Review reports that “A group of healthcare providers filed a federal lawsuit last year, claiming Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurers are engaging in cartel-like behavior by divvying up markets to avoid competing against one another.”
“The lawsuit focuses on the licensing agreements the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association has with insurers, which usually involve companies having exclusive rights to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield names within a certain region. The healthcare providers claim the association’s agreements lead to decreased competition, causing them to be paid much less.”