BCBS Restricts Competition, Suit Charges

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , August 3, 2012

Most recently Whatley Kallas attorneys were the principal litigators and negotiators for a settlement in Feller v. Blue Cross of California, which successfully sought to prevent class action members from being trapped in closed plans and subjected to what is known as a "death spiral," where the premiums for the plans increase dramatically because no new enrollees are being added, and younger and healthier members move to other plans.

Joe L. Whatley, a senior partner in the firm, said in an interview with HealthLeaders Media that the firm is awaiting a ruling on a motion filed last week to consolidate the Conway suit with four other similar Alabama cases that involve business subscribers. The move would help eliminate duplication of effort among the different legal teams.

The firm has filed notice of the Conway suit with 45 Blue Cross Blue Shield plans across the country. Whatley said if additional providers in other states want to join Conway's suit it would simply be a matter of amending the suit.

The BCBS plans have until late August to respond but are expected to request extensions.

Similar lawsuits have been filed by other plaintiffs and lawyers in North Carolina and Tennessee.

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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