The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) on Monday, October 18. The Justice Department alleges that BCBSM violated antitrust laws by using its strong presence in the market to increase prices for its competitors, which resulted in Michigan residents paying higher health care and health insurance costs. Specifically, the Justice Department says that BCBSM required hospitals to charge competitors more. The Detroit Free Press reported that the Michigan attorney general’s office stated, “the investigation showed that Blue Cross increased its payouts to many hospitals to guarantee the hospitals would in turn charge all other insurers up to 40 percent more, pricing them out of the market and raising prices on all Michigan consumers.”
The Detroit Free Press reported that BCBSM adamantly refuted the allegations. BCBSM stated that the lawsuit was without merit and that its responsibility in contracting with hospitals is to negotiate on behalf of its members and costumers, not to negotiate against other health care insurers.
For more information on Michigan health care news, please visit the Michigan Healthcare News section on the Wachler Blog.