Three employers have appealed a $2.67 billion antitrust settlement with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, potentially altering the terms of the landmark federal agreement and extending the timeline of the 10-year case.
Retailer Home Depot filed its appeal Thursday while design consultancy Topographic and benefits providers Employee Services Inc. appealed the settlement the day before, according to filings submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.
None of the companies’ legal briefs explain why they are appealing Judge David Proctor’s decision to approve the deal last month. Home Depot, Topographic, Employee Services and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association didn’t immediately responded to interview requests.
Policyholders and employers sued the Blues group and 34 licensees in 2012, alleging association rules that limit the amount of revenue member plans can generate from non-Blues-branded businesses, and geographic constraints on where Blues companies could sell insurance, violated the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890.
Along with the $2.67 billion in damages the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its members companies agreed to pay, Proctor ruled that some large employers may request bids from two Blues plans. Previously, Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliates were barred from seeking business with large companies already contracted with other Blues carriers.
Home Depot has previously said this changes would not do enough to eliminate anticompetitive behavior because the association still restricts where Blues insurers can sell plans.
The court-approved settlement also lifted the association’s brand requirement, which limited the amount of revenue Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliates could generate from non-Blues branded products.
Last year, a group of patients opted out of the deal, in part because they disagreed with the $668 million plaintiffs attorneys are poised to collect. A group of providers has made similar antitrust allegaions against the Blue Cross and Blue Association in a separate lawsuit that is ongoing.