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Judge lets Blue Cross Blue Shield antitrust suit move ahead

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A court is allowing antitrust litigation against health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield to proceed.

U.S. District Judge David Proctor of Birmingham, Alabama, in a ruling late Thursday refused to accept the insurer’s claim that it’s a single entity operating across the nation.

Instead, Proctor agreed to let plaintiff lawyers move ahead with allegations that some actions by 36 state insurance operations could amount to an automatic violation of antitrust laws.

The suit claims the insurer’s actions mean higher premiums for customers and lower reimbursement rates for medical providers. Billions of dollars could be at stake.

An attorney for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Scott Nehs, says the organization will appeal.

Plaintiff’s lawyer Joe Whatley says a court could now consider certifying the lawsuit as a national class action.

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