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Antitrust Law

Feds Probe Whether Blue Cross Blue Shield Provisions Stifle Competition

Posted Mar 25, 2011 6:57 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Federal officials are reportedly looking at Blue Cross Blue Shield health care plan provisions in half a dozen states, with a focus on whether they stifle competition by preventing hospitals from striking favorable deals with other insurers.

Getting a particularly close look are so-called "most favored nation" provisions requiring health care providers to charge competitors the same or higher prices, reports the Wall Street Journal.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice tells the newspaper that "the antitrust division is investigating the possibility of anticompetitive practices involving MFN clauses in various parts of the country." It appears that practices at other companies besides BCBS also are being examined.

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