Plaintiffs for the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) settlement case have confirmed the class notification campaign has begun as of March 26, 2021. Given this announcement, as well as continued direct marketing by third party settlement firms, plan sponsors should be aware of the following current information:
- The class notification communication campaign will contact employers included in the Damages Class directly via email or postcard. It will include an employer’s unique ID, which is required to file a claim. Employers can file a claim on the BCBS settlement website noted below via the online portal with that unique ID. There is the option to file the claim form without this unique ID but it is unclear if this could delay the settlement process or make it more challenging for plan sponsors to track their claim with the claims administrator.
- Employers and employees alike are included in this settlement. However, employers are not obligated to notify employees of the settlement. Both employers and employees will receive
notice of the settlement through a court-approved program. The fairness hearing will be held on October 20, 2021.
- Resources are available to manage questions regarding the claims submissions process, managed by the claims administrator JND Legal Administration. The contact information for
these legal resources are as follows:
What action should be taken now?
- If you are included in the damages class, the plaintiffs will contact you via email or postcard.
- Once you receive the unique ID, you can file a claim via the online portal (or submit the claim form) on the BCBS settlement website. The due date for filing a claim is November 5, 2021
(postmarked or submitted online). In order to receive compensation from the settlement, a claim must be filed.
- As part of the damages class, you are able to object and write the court about why you do not like the settlement. If you choose to object, this must be postmarked by July 28, 2021.
- If you wish to opt out of the settlement (meaning you opt out of both the legally binding decision of the settlement in addition to any cash settlement that may be issued), you must take action and actively opt out by July 28, 2021.
If you choose to not take any action, you will remain in the damages class, be legally bound by the settlement and receive no payment from the settlement (because no claim was filed).
In late 2020, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBS) reached a settlement in an antitrust case totaling $2.67 billion. A nationwide class of subscriber members initiated the lawsuit in 2012, alleging that BCBS’ use of trademarks unlawfully hindered competition and increased the cost of healthcare coverage for its members.
$1.9 billion of this settlement is expected to go to employer groups and members, with the rest covering legal and administrative costs.
What does this mean for employer groups?
- It is expected that fully insured clients qualify for 93.5% of the net settlement fund. The qualification period is February 7, 2008 to October 16, 2020.
- It is expected that self-funded clients qualify for 6.5% of the net settlement fund. The qualification period is September 1, 2015 to October 16, 2020.
- Dental and vision plans are not included in the settlement.
- There is no immediate impact to BCBS networks as a result of this settlement.
- As part of this settlement, some self-funded large national employer groups may have the ability to receive a bid from two separate BCBS companies. We expect these to be employers with
5,000+ employees. Plan sponsors can also look up on www.BCBSsettlement.com if they are eligible to receive a second bid for coverage from an additional BCBS company. There is still
much to be determined when it comes to the rules and actual impact of the second Blue bid. This includes understanding where this may not apply (such as states where plan sponsors
already have access to separate Blue Cross and Blue Shield offerings), potential fees or charges for the second Blue plan to be able to bid, and how this competition will impact network
access fees or supplemental service offerings. As those details emerge, MMA will work with plan sponsors to understand how the second Blue bid would apply or not apply for any request
for proposals effective in 2022.
- There are many third party settlement firms reaching out to plan sponsors and you or your employees may have already been contacted. While working with these third parties is always
your decision, their services may be duplicative of those being offered by the claims administrator—JND Legal Administration—and may in some cases actually reduce eligible
settlement amounts as part of their recovery fee.
This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty.