It has come to Ascela’s attention that Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) has issued notification to employers and employees regarding an antitrust class action settlement.
We have reached out to our Blue Cross Blue Shield representatives and have been advised that being a legal matter, they are only authorized at this time to direct any inquiries to these resources:
Blue Cross Blue Shield Settlement Website: BCBSsettlement.com
Toll-free Inquiry Number: 888.681.1142
WHAT IS THIS SETTLEMENT ABOUT? This settlement, arising from a class action antitrust lawsuit called In re: Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation MDL 2406, N.D. Ala. Master File No. 2:13-cv-20000-RDP (the “Settlement”), was reached on behalf of individuals and companies that purchased or received health insurance provided or administered by a Blue Cross Blue Shield company. Class Representatives (“Plaintiffs”) reached a Settlement on October 16, 2020 with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (“BCBSA”) and Settling Individual Blue Plans. BCBSA and Settling Individual Blue Plans are called “Settling Defendants.”
Plaintiffs allege that Settling Defendants violated antitrust laws by entering into an agreement not to compete with each other and to limit competition among themselves in selling health insurance and administrative services for health insurance. Settling Defendants deny all allegations of wrongdoing and assert that their conduct results in lower healthcare costs and greater access to care for their customers. The Court has not decided who is right or wrong. Instead, Plaintiffs and Settling Defendants have agreed to a Settlement to avoid the risk and cost of further litigation. If approved by the Court, the Settlement will establish a $2.67 billion Settlement Fund. Settling Defendants will also agree to make changes in the way they do business that Plaintiffs believe will increase the opportunities for competition in the market for health insurance (Source: bcbssettlement.com).
ELIGIBILITY According to the website, bcbssettlement.com, the eligible people entitled to a settlement are fully-insured group or individual plan members from 2/7/2008 to 10/16/2020 or self-insured plan members from 9/1/2015 to 10/16/2020 as well as employer groups. No notification was given to us by our local BCBS reps because they had no knowledge about notifications or eligible members.
Anyone who has received notification should go to bcbssettlement.com for additional information. The email notification issued to individuals contains a Unique ID that the recipient will enter and then click on LOGIN to access the settlement website. Settlements are unique and personal, and we will not have access to the amount of the settlement per person or be able to assist with obtaining a settlement.
Do employers have an obligation to notify employees of the settlement? The Settlement and the Court’s preliminary approval order do not obligate employers to notify employees of the settlement. Both employers and employees will receive notice of the Settlement through a Court-approved notice program. If employers or employees have questions about the Settlement, they can review the Court-approved Long Form Notice, these FAQs, or contact the notice and claims administrator at 888.681.1142.
Do employers have an obligation to provide historical premium/administrative fee data to employees? The Settlement and the Court’s preliminary approval order do not obligate employers to provide historical premium/administrative fee data to employees. As discussed in FAQ 16, claimants are not required to provide this information in order to make a claim.
If an employer group opts out of the settlement, can employees still receive payment?Yes. The Proposed Plan of Distribution allows for calculation of an employee’s claim value independent of whether their employer opts out of the Settlement.
How will a payment to the employee differ from payments to employer? The Proposed Plan of Distribution provides the methodology for the Claims Administrator to use in order to make separate payments to the employer and its employees. For a full discussion of how these formulas will be used in calculating claims, and for information concerning how a claimant can request a different contribution percentage, please refer to Question 8 of the Long Form Notice as well as to paragraphs 18 and 26 of the Proposed Plan of Distribution on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Settlement Website: bcbssettlement.com.
Is an employer obligated to share any recovery with its employees? No. As described above, employees are eligible to participate in the Settlement and receive a payment for their estimated portion of premiums.
Are employers who purchased insurance or administrative services through a purchasing entity eligible for payment from the Settlement? Yes. The Claim Form allows for a claimant to indicate whether they purchased through a purchasing entity or are a purchasing entity that purchased on behalf of employers. Paragraph 21 of the Proposed Plan of Distribution outlines a process for determining the allocation of premiums between the purchasing entity and the employer if both make claims. The Settlement Administrator will make an allocation determination in light of all the facts and circumstances and available data that can be collected by the Claims Administrator and provided to the Settlement Administrator.
Are non-employer groups eligible to file a claim for insurance or administrative services purchased for their own employees? Yes. If a purchasing entity is also a damages class member in its own right, that purchasing entity can make its own claim as an employer, as can its employees.
If you have any questions, please reach out to your Ascela Dedicated Account Manager who is available to assist you.