A Birmingham-based judge recently decided to move forward with the Alabama portion of a lawsuit alleging a widespread conspiracy to divide territory and limit competition between Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates nationwide.
U.S. District Court Judge David Proctor issued the order on Oct. 30, which sets out a schedule for the Alabama portion of the lawsuit.
A trial in the case could happen sometime after January 2018, when the parties are set to meet for pretrial conference.
Alabama has the least competitive health insurance market in the country, according to recent studies by the American Medical Association. Blue Cross covers 93 percent of privately insured patients in Alabama, according to the lawsuit.
“It’s significant because it allows us to focus on Alabama and allows us to show how providers are treated worse because of the market concentration,” said Joe Whatley, an attorney representing the plaintiffs suing Blue Cross.