BCBS Association: It's too late for UPMC to join federal antitrust lawsuit against BCBS plans

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association asked a court to deny UPMC's request to join a lawsuit that argues 36 BCBS insurers unlawfully conspired to divide markets and avoid competition with one another, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

In a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, the BCBS Association said Pittsburgh-based UPMC is years late in its attempt to intervene in the civil antitrust case. The first among nine similar cases that were consolidated in the multidistrict litigation was from 2012.

"UPMC's motion to intervene at this stage after the close of discovery and despite UPMC's years-long knowledge of the litigation, would significantly delay the adjudication of the existing parties' rights," the filing stated, as cited by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

In addition to the petition to intervene in the case, UPMC is also requesting a preliminary injunction that would halt a BCBS prohibition against plans networking with hospitals outside their service areas, according to the report. A preliminary injunction would essentially make UPMC out of network with much of the BCBS network, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Plaintiffs in the BCBS antitrust lawsuit can object or support UPMC's petition to intervene in the case by March 14.

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