October 4, 2023

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Ford Motor Company sues Blue Cross Blue Shield in antitrust case alleging ‘astronomical’ profits

June 1 (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co (FN) sued Blue Cross Blue Shield Corporation in a US court on Wednesday, alleging a price-fixing conspiracy that led the automaker to overcharge for health insurance products for its employees.

the lawsuit Ford in Detroit has accused the insurance company and its regional subsidiary in Michigan in federal court of illegally subdividing parts of the country in a scheme to reduce competition with each other in order to generate “astronomical profits.”

The allegations from Ford, which employs more than 170,000 workers worldwide, relate to a $2.7 billion settlement that the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and its thirty member companies reached in 2020 with corporate and individual policy holders in Alabama federal court.

Ford chose not to participate in that settlement, which is now under appeal in the Atlanta-based US 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, in order to pursue its own claims. The Court of Appeals agreed to expedite consideration of the settlement.

A spokesperson for the defendant’s Blue Cross Blue Shield Association declined to comment on the pending lawsuit. A representative from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan also declined to comment.

Ford did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on the lawsuit, and the company’s attorney declined to comment.

In the 40-page complaint, Ford said the alleged scheme to limit competition between Blue Cross and Blue Shield organizations denied the vehicle manufacturer the “opportunity to purchase health insurance products and services from a lower-cost competitor and/or at a price determined by a free market.”

The lawsuit seeks to bar Blue Cross Blue Shield’s alleged anti-competitive conduct and seeks triple damages and other damages.

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Ford said it has spent more than $500 million in premiums since 2009 for “fully insured” products for employees in select areas of the state, according to the complaint.

Ford’s lawsuit said Michigan’s Blue Cross Blue Shield is the ninth-largest insurer in the nation based on 4.5 million registrants.

The case is Ford Motor Co. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Mutual Insurance Company and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, No. 2: 23-cv-11286-LVP-EAS.

For Ford: J. Travis Mihelick of Dinsmore & Shohl

For Blue Cross: No skin yet

(Reporting by Mike Scarcella). Edited by Lee Jones

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.