Supreme Court rejects challenge to $2.7B BCBS settlement 

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear Home Depot's challenge to a $2.67 billion settlement with Blue Cross Blue Shield companies, ending a legal saga over alleged anticompetitive behavior that dates back to 2012.

The court also rejected a related challenge for a $667 million fee award for the attorneys who were involved with the settlement.

BCBS members first brought the case in 2012, alleging that BCBS companies conspired to divide up markets to avoid competing with each other, thereby driving up costs for consumers. 

In October 2020, BCBS companies and the association reached a $2.67 billion settlement, in which BCBS admitted to no wrongdoing. The settlement mandated that BCBS companies drop an association rule that required 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 insurer that offers coverage where the employer is headquartered so that BCBS companies could avoid competing with one another for large contracts.

A federal judge approved the settlement in August 2022. In September 2022, Home Depot and other litigants filed a challenge to the agreement, arguing the settlement did not achieve the lawsuit's original objective, which was to stop BCBS companies from receiving exclusive geographic branding rights. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the settlement in October 2023, and Home Depot appealed to the Supreme Court in March 2024.

"We are pleased with both the Supreme Court’s decision and the opportunity to begin to implement this settlement, which we agreed to nearly four years ago," a spokesperson for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association told Becker's. "As we move forward, we remain focused on the goal we have had for more than 90 years: improving access to high-quality, equitable and affordable health care for the people and communities we serve."

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