Blue plans not 1 entity, providers argue

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Blue Cross Blue Shield health plans can't argue that they're a single entity in defense of antitrust litigation, provider groups claim.

In a motion for partial summary judgment filed July 27 in an Alabama district court, the providers claim the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association has admitted to not being a single entity in the past. Additionally, the providers argued, "while potential competitors may be a single entity when managing jointly owned intellectual property, they cannot, as a matter of law, be a single entity to the extent they allocate territory or limit output."

The providers gave an example from 2012, when a BCBS Association CEO workgroup presentation included a slide titled, "But the single entity model is not a good analogy for the Blue system," according to the court documents. 

Becker's reached out to BCBS Association for comment. A spokesperson said the organization doesn't comment on pending litigation. 

The providers are targeting BCBS Association's single entity defense in a broader case that accuses Blue insurers of anticompetitive operations.

In December 2020, a U.S. district judge gave preliminary approval for a $2.7 billion settlement from Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers for an antitrust lawsuit that accuses the companies of conspiring to divide markets and avoid directly competing with each other. 

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