Home Depot among objectors of $2.67B BCBS antitrust settlement

Attorneys representing Blue Cross Blue Shield members in a $2.67 billion antitrust settlement with the BCBS Association asked a federal appeals court Oct. 5 to speed up the objection process.

Four appeals to the settlement were filed Sept. 7 on behalf of six objectors, including Home Depot.

"Delaying full implementation of the historic monetary and injunctive relief provided by the settlement will work a real and substantial injury not only upon tens of millions of class members who neither objected to nor appealed from the District Court's decisions, but also upon the general public, by postponing the full implementation of several structural reforms designed to promote competition in the national health insurance marketplace," the attorneys wrote.

A federal judge approved the settlement in August following a decadelong legal battle over alleged anticompetitive behavior that negatively affected BCBS members. The original class-action lawsuit was brought in 2012 by members who claimed the behavior was raising costs on policyholders.

The settlement was set to go into effect after 30 days, but members that objected to it were able to appeal the final decision.

The final settlement includes a mandate that Blue insurers drop a BCBS Association rule that requires two-thirds of national net revenues from health plans and related services to come from Blue-branded products.

Another rule the settlement struck down had required large employers to work with the Blue affiliate that offers coverage where the employer is located so that BCBS companies could avoid competing with one another for large contracts.

The settlement did not achieve the lawsuit's original objective, which was to stop BCBS companies from receiving exclusive geographic branding rights.

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