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Blue Cross, Blue Shield accused in antitrust lawsuit of anti-competitive scheme

Suit claims insurer practices lead to higher health care costs for Oklahomans; company representative denies claim.
by Brianna Bailey Published: April 3, 2013

Three Oklahomans have filed a federal antitrust lawsuit that accuses Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma of anti-competitive practices that have caused Oklahomans to pay higher health insurance premiums.

The lawsuit claims Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma and several affiliated companies have conspired to inflate the cost of health insurance premiums in the state with anti-competitive agreements.

Hilarie Houghton, a spokeswoman for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, declined to comment on the pending litigation.

In a written statement, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the national organization that oversees 38 member companies, said it believes the litigation is meritless.

“Blue Cross Blue Shield companies are committed to keeping health care costs as low as possible for our 100 million members,” the statement said.

“The system has worked well for decades in keeping costs down, rewarding medical professionals for providing quality care, better managing the care of patients with chronic conditions and encouraging everyone to make healthier choices to prevent disease.”

Nicholas Rockforte, one of eight attorneys representing the Oklahomans in the case, said Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma has anti-competitive agreements that keep Blue Cross and Blue Shield member companies based in other states from competing for customers in Oklahoma.

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by Brianna Bailey
Business Writer
Brianna Bailey has lived in Idaho, Germany and Southern California, but Oklahoma is her adopted home. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the Univerisity of Oklahoma and has worked at several newspapers in Oklahoma and Southern...
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