Court Grants Final Approval of “Historic” Blue Cross Blue Shield Settlement

In a case where Zuckerman Spaeder attorneys played a lead role, an Alabama federal court has granted final approval to a Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) settlement that will pay $2.67 billion to plaintiffs – the largest settlement in history for a private antitrust case with no government involvement – and bring sweeping changes to the way Blue Cross entities compete in the national health insurance market.

As part of consolidated multi-district antitrust litigation that began in 2012, Zuckerman Spaeder partner Cy Smith was appointed by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama to serve on the five-person Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. This Committee directed litigation on behalf of health insurance subscribers, who alleged that BCBS insurers, along with their trade association, conspired to limit competition with each other and increased premiums for individual and small group consumers, as well as self-insured companies. 

In October 2020, the BCBS insurers agreed to the settlement, and preliminary approval was granted in November of that year. The agreement, which impacts over 100 million insureds, means that health care consumers, including employers, will benefit from lower prices and freedom of choice in selecting their plans. In his order granting final approval, Judge R. David Proctor said the settlement “provides historic, transformative, procompetitive injunctive and equitable relief.”

Zuckerman Spaeder partner Carl Kravitz was also involved in the case, serving as co-chair of the Experts’ Committee.

The case is In re: Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation, MDL 2406; 2:13-cv-20000.

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Katie Munroe
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