Notice of Class Action Settlement
in BCBS Antitrust Lawsuit
Since approximately 2013, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) has been defending claims in a class action antitrust lawsuit alleging that BCBSA engaged in anti-competitive activities that resulted in, among other things, increased premiums for policyholders and insureds.
In late 2020, BCBSA and the class representatives (the plaintiffs) reached an agreement to settle the lawsuit for approximately $2.7 billion as well as certain injunctive relief that, among other things, requires BCBSA to change their policies and practices. The settlement was subsequently preliminarily approved by a federal district court in Alabama. The roughly $2.7 billion will be placed into a settlement fund, which will be used to pay claims once the settlement is finally approved by the court. It has been reported that of the $2.7 billion settlement, $0.7 billion is reserved for legal fees, $1.78 billion is allocated to fully insured plans, and $.12 billion ($120 million) is allocated to self-insured plans. A fairness hearing where the court determines whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate is scheduled for October 20, 2021.
Why are you telling me about this lawsuit?
Your company and your employees may be part of the settlement class. Notification to potentially impacted parties, including employers and their employees is currently in progress. The settlement impacts many employers sponsoring insured and self-funded group health plans as well employees who elected coverage under the plans. Therefore, we wanted to apprise you of the settlement and briefly explain how this may impact you or your employees.
How will I know if my company is impacted by the settlement?
If you contracted with a BCBSA, or one of its members, to provide insured group health plan coverage between February 7, 2008 and October 16, 2020 or administrative services (for self-funded plans) between September 1, 2015 and October 16, 2020, your employees and you may have a claim and should receive notice of the settlement.
What do I need to do in order to file a claim?
If you fall within the applicable class and receive a notice, you need to file a claim form online or via U.S. Mail by the November 5, 2021. If you intend to file the claim online, you will need to retain the unique ID provided to you in either an email or postcard sent to you along with notification of the settlement. There is a Proposed Plan of Distribution agreed to by the parties which addressed how settlement funds may be allocated. If you don’t file a claim, you will not receive any of the settlement proceeds; however, whether or not you file a claim will not impact any potential recovery for your employees. They can file and recover independently of your company.
Do I need to provide any data to the court/parties?
You don’t have to, but you can provide historical premium or administrative services fee data to the claims administrator if you prefer to provide data other than what was provided by BCBS to the court/plaintiffs. You will also have an opportunity to review the information already provided to the claims administrator for accuracy and provide additional information if you disagree with the amount.
Do I have to help my employees with their claims or provide them historical premium data?
No. The parties notify all employees about the settlement, the potential impact of the settlement on the employees, and provide a notice and claims administrator hotline – (888) 681-1142. We are informing you about this so that you know where to point employees – either to the FAQs or the hotline – if they have further questions. Further, employees are not required to provide historical premium data to make a claim and, therefore, you are under no obligation to provide them with this information.
Who can I talk to at FH INSURANCE to learn more?
Please understand, we are not lawyers or legal counsel and we have not been party to, or directly engaged in, the litigation. Therefore, we cannot answer detailed questions about the lawsuit or specifically advise you how to proceed, but the settlement site specific to the lawsuit has excellent FAQs that can help guide your employees and you, and you can always contact the lawsuit claims administrator at (888) 681-1142. Neither your employees nor you need your own legal counsel to file a claim, as the court appointed attorneys to act on behalf of the named plaintiffs and settlement class, though you would need your own legal counsel if you intend to object to the settlement.