A federal judge has denied a request by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Ohio to keep secret critical information regarding its proposed asset sale to Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.
The national Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, which represents 62 Blues plans, said it wants the information to support its attempt to halt the deal.
The Chicago-based association would strip the Ohio Blues of its license to use the Blues trademarks if the transaction proceeds.
The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the Ohio Blues to prevent the association from implementing rules that would penalize plans that sell assets to non-Blues members (July 1, p. 12).
U.S. District Judge Lesley Brooks Wells in Cleveland said the Blues must disclose information regarding the adequacy of the purchase price for its assets and the employment, noncompetition and consulting agreements and retirement benefits to be provided for certain of the plan's officers, trustees and outside counsel. The judge wrote that the information is relevant to whether the association may terminate its licensing agreements with the Cleveland-based plan.
The Ohio Blues plan had no comment on the decision. Previously, it has defended its $299.5 million purchase price, which has come under attack by consumer groups and others as too low. It also has defended terms of the transaction that grant multimillion-dollar compensation figures to Blues officials.