Alabama Political Reporter
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 Reporter claims, “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.”
The depositions also show that the Alabama Department of Insurance Leadership (ALDOI) did not inform lawmakers or the public about rate variations charged by BCBS of Alabama. Not only did ALDOI not disclose the differences in rates, the department also didn’t mount an official investigation into BCBS’s activities in the State.
Attorneys claim these latest revelations are part of a larger pattern of an “ongoing conspiracy between and among the Individual Blue Plans and BCBSA to allocate markets in violation of the prohibitions of the Sherman Act.”
Depositions given by BCBS Chief Actuary Noel Carden, as well as Steven Ostlund of the Alabama Department of Insurance, were unsealed on Oct. 18 by order of Birmingham-based Federal District Judge R. David Procter, who is hearing the nationwide class-action suit.
In his order, Judge Proctor wrote in favor of the public’s right to know, as well as those who might be affected by the claim, which BCBS’s motion sought to keep secret.