Blue Cross Blue Shield has reached a tentative $2.7 billion settlement in an antitrust suit, according to a Reuters report. The settlement would resolve claims that the insurance group’s member companies conspired to limit competition and raise prices for policyholders.
The settlement has been approved by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, but still requires approval by its 36 member companies. US District Judge David Proctor, who has overseen the litigation since 2013, must also approve the deal, Reuters reported.
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of more than one million individual and corporate policyholders, with policies that covered tens of millions of people, according to Reuters. They alleged that Blue Cross Blue Shield member companies violated antitrust laws by, for example, dividing up health insurance markets to avoid competing with each other.
Blue Cross Blue Shield member companies cover more than 109 million Americans – about a third of the US population, including covering employees at major companies like General Motors and Walmart.
The proposed settlement would also scrap a rule that two-thirds of each Blue Cross Blue Shield company’s national revenue from health plans and services must come from Blue-branded businesses, Reuters reported. It would also ease rules that force national employers seeking coverage to work through Blue insurers covering where their headquarters are located. Those rules, Reuters reported, effectively give some small, one-state insurers a stranglehold on major companies.