BCBS must face antitrust conspiracy claims from Ford Motor, judge rules

A federal judge has ruled that the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and BCBS Michigan must face a lawsuit from Ford Motor Co. over an alleged antitrust conspiracy among Blues plans to fix healthcare prices, thereby overcharging Ford for health insurance provided to its employees.

On March 30, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Of Michigan narrowed the scope of the lawsuit and said Ford's claims related to the purchase of ASO products are barred by the statute of limitations.

In the lawsuit filed May 31, Ford accused BCBS Michigan of unlawfully dividing geographic territory and reducing competition among Blues plans, resulting in "astronomical profits and extraordinary salaries, all at the substantial expense of consumers." 

Ford said it was overcharged for commercial, ASO and self-funded plans from several BCBS plans across the country, including Kansas City, Tennessee, Illinois, and Anthem Missouri and Ohio.

Ford's claims are related to a $2.7 billion settlement that the BCBSA and its affiliates reached with corporate and individual members in 2022 over similar allegations. Ford had been a class member in that lawsuit but chose to opt out of the settlement and pursue its own claims against BCBS. 

Ford said it is seeking damages related to the difference between what BCBS charged as a result of the alleged conspiracy and what the automaker would have paid "in a free and competitive market."

The BCBSA previously told Becker's it does not comment on active litigation.

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