Highmark Faces Antitrust Allegations

Pittsburgh-based health insurer Highmark is facing an antitrust lawsuit, as three Pennsylvania residents and two businesses claim Highmark and three other payors have violated antitrust law by colluding to not compete against one another, according to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report.

All plaintiffs are Highmark customers, and they are seeking class-action status for the suit to represent other Highmark enrollees. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Independence Blue Cross and Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania are also named as defendants in the lawsuit, according to the report.

The lawsuit claims that, because of its agreements with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and its fellow Blues insurers, Highmark does not compete for business in the Philadelphia region, home to Independence Blue Cross, or the northeast, where Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania operates. This allegedly results in artificially inflated premiums.

The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court, alleges Highmark has been able to inflate premiums because of this alleged "illegal conspiracy" among the Blues. The plaintiffs claim the alleged relationship violates the Sherman Act's antitrust provisions.

A Highmark spokesperson did not comment on the lawsuit, according to the report.

Highmark is expanding its business strategy to include an integrated provider network, anchored by its recently finalized acquisition of West Penn Allegheny Health System in Pittsburgh. The system is now known as Allegheny Health Network.

More Articles on Highmark:

West Penn Bond Ratings Fluctuate Following Highmark Deal
Highmark-West Penn Deal Gets Name: Allegheny Health Network
Highmark-West Penn Merger Receives Pennsylvania Approval

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