“These companies simply sit in their respective territories and demand whatever price they like,” said Rockforte, an attorney in Plaquemine, La.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma is the state's largest health insurer and about 50 percent of Oklahomans who subscribe to full-service health insurance are covered through the company or one of its associated companies, the lawsuit claims.
A group of trial attorneys based in Texas, Louisiana, and Tennessee filed the lawsuit in February on behalf of three Oklahomans insured by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma. The lawsuit was filed in Logan County District Court and later moved to U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.
The lawsuit seeks damages on behalf of Oklahomans who have paid high insurance premiums in the state.
The Oklahoma litigation is one of several lawsuits that have been filed against the national Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and many of its 38 member companies.
In December, the Judicial Panel of Multi-District Litigation ruled that the cases would be consolidated and heard by a federal court in Birmingham, Ala. It is likely that the Oklahoma lawsuit will be consolidated with the other cases, Rockforte said.