On Wednesday, Ford Motor Co. filed a lawsuit against Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in a U.S. court, accusing it of engaging in price-fixing activity that led to the carmaker paying exorbitant prices for health insurance for its employees.
Ford filed a complaint against the insurer and its regional office in Michigan, alleging that they illegally divided apart portions of the nation in an effort to lessen competition with one another and generate "astronomical profits."
The claims made by Ford, which has more than 170,000 employees globally, are connected to a $2.7 billion agreement that the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and its thirty-two member businesses made with corporate and individual policyholders in federal court in Alabama in 2020.
Ford chose not to participate in that settlement, which is currently being reviewed by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, in order to pursue its own claims. The appeals court consented to expedite its review of the settlement.
Defendant Blue Cross Blue Shield Association's representative declined to comment on ongoing litigation. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's spokesperson likewise declined to respond.
In the 40-page complaint, Ford said the alleged scheme to curb competition among Blue Cross Blue Shield organisations deprived the vehicle manufacturer of "the opportunity to purchase health insurance products and services from a lower cost competitor and/or at a price set by the free market."
In addition to triple damages and other remedies, the complaint seeks to enjoin Blue Cross Blue Shield from engaging in what it claims to be anticompetitive behaviour.
According to the complaint, Ford claimed to have spent more than $500 million on premiums for "fully insured" products for employees in specific areas of the state since 2009.
According to the lawsuit filed by Ford, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has 4.5 million enrollees, making it the ninth-largest insurance in the nation.
Ford Motor Company v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Mutual Insurance Company and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, No. 2:23-cv-11286-LVP-EAS, is the name of the case.