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US Judge Rules Blue Cross Blue Shield Must Face Ford Antitrust Suit

 |  April 1, 2024

US District Judge Linda Parker has ruled that the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and its Michigan affiliate must face a lawsuit brought by the Ford Motor Company accusing Blue Cross entities of artificially inflating health insurance costs.

Ford Motor Company filed the accusations against Blue Cross organizations, asserting violations of antitrust laws. Ford’s argument revolves around alleged price-fixing collusion among Blue Cross entities aimed at stifling competition and monopolizing the health insurance market. According to Ford, this alleged misconduct led to inflated premiums, preventing the company from procuring health insurance from more cost-effective alternatives or through free market dynamics.

Judge Parker’s ruling, delivered on Saturday in a Detroit federal court, marks a significant step forward for Ford’s legal pursuit against Blue Cross. The judge deemed Ford’s allegations substantial enough to warrant further investigation, particularly concerning the purported overcharging for commercial health insurance products. Notably, the ruling also allowed Ford to pursue claims regarding the inflated costs associated with administrative services obtained from Blue Cross, albeit with a narrowed scope.

Related: Federal Appeals Court Upholds $2.7 Billion Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Settlement

Ford’s case against Blue Cross stems from wider concerns regarding the financial burden imposed on the company and its vast workforce. With over 170,000 employees, Ford dedicates substantial resources to covering insurance premiums and related health expenditures. The automaker’s claims also echo sentiments expressed in a parallel legal battle in Alabama, where various entities have accused Blue Cross of engaging in a price-fixing conspiracy over an extended period.

In response to the ruling, Blue Cross and its Michigan affiliate opted not to comment, restating their denial of any wrongdoing in connection with Ford’s allegations.

Source: Reuters