BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It's one of the largest anti-trust cases in the country and a Birmingham federal judge has made a major ruling in the case that could impact doctors and patients under 36 different blue cross blue shield plans across the country, including Alabama.
A judge ruled there was enough evidence that the health care provider may have violated anti-trust laws. This could turn into a class-action lawsuit with a lot of money at stake.
If it makes it to a jury trial and the plaintiffs win, it could results into major payouts for consumers.
The suit claims that the insurer's actions mean higher premiums for customers and lower reimbursement rates for medical providers.
It claimed that the Blue Cross and Blue Shields throughout the country set up anti-competitions with each other which resulted in higher premiums for people paying for the insurance.
After several years of delays, a U.S. District Judge David Proctor of the Northern District of Alabama ruled that there was enough evidence of anti-trust laws violations that this case could go before a jury next year.
"Our economy depends on the fact that businesses can compete with one another and that competition makes prices lower and when businesses agree not to compete against one another that's a violation of the federal anti-trust laws and the prices to the consumers go up. so that's why the federal laws prevent this kind of agreement not to compete," said John Carroll, a law professor at Samford University.
BC/BS senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary Scott Nehs released the following statement: