A Blue Cross and Blue Shield company faces a class-action lawsuit over a national program that requires providers contracted with Blue Cross Blue Shield Association members to accept rates negotiated by Blues plans from other states.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana must defend itself against a lawsuit representing providers from the Pelican State, Judge John Conery ruled Monday when he upheld a previous denial of the insurer's request for summary judgment.
Opelousas General Hospital Authority, a health system about 60 miles west of Baton Rouge, initiated the lawsuit in 2016. The company argues that the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association's BlueCard Program is an "an illegal horizontal cartel." As such, the Opelousas General Hospital Authority contends the BlueCard Program protects Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana's market share by deterring other Blues plans from operating in the state and negotiating their own payment rates. The lawsuit alleges the program violates state antitrust laws, depresses provider pay and increases patient costs. All healthcare providers that do business with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana are eligible to be included in the class action.