November 1, 2016
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama had a policy for years of charging rates different from those filed with state regulators, a practice that violated state law according to attorneys suing the company in federal court.
The policy resulted in overcharges of $5 million for some small groups and undercharges of $35 million for others, according to depositions.
The practice came to light after U.S. District Judge David Proctor unsealed depositions on Oct. 18 in a massive anti-trust case against 38 Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates, including Alabama. The central issue in the case is whether Blue Cross affiliates in different states conspired to limit competition in order to charge higher rates to subscribers and offer lower payments to medical providers.
MONTGOMERY—Newly released depositions in a class-action antitrust lawsuit against Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) give rise to charges of inflated rates and a nationally coordinated plan to control insurance markets, according to federal court filings.
A written statement received by the Alabama Political Reporterclaims, “Blue Cross and Blue Shield are defendants in a series of federal class actions alleging that the Blues are engaging in a nationwide conspiracy to suppress competition in violation of federal antitrust law, including unlawfully conspiring to divide up their respective markets and agreeing to suppress competition among themselves within those markets artificially.”
Judge Proctor Unseals Two Depositions
Birmingham, Alabama — Defendant Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama sought to designate the deposition of it’s Chief Actuary, Noel Carden, as well as the deposition of Steven Ostlund, of the Alabama Department of Insurance, as “sealed documents” in an attempt to prevent the public from viewing their testimony. Plaintiffs’ Attorneys representing the proposed class objected to the depositions being sealed. After the parties briefed the issue, Judge David Proctor, of the Northern District of Alabama, issued an Order on October 18, 2016 unsealing the two depositions.
To read Judge David Proctor’s Order click here:
To read the Deposition of Noel Carden click here:
To read the Deposition of Steven Ostlund click here: