FLORIDA BLUE SUED FOR MAINTAINING ITS MONOPOLY BY ENFORCING EXCLUSIVE CONTRACTS WITH BROKERS

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, also known as Florida Blue, was sued this week in federal court in Orlando for unlawfully monopolizing the market for health plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act. Florida Blue’s market share in Florida is 75%, and it is even higher in some areas, like Orlando. Oscar Insurance Co., one of the nation’s fastest-growing health insurance companies, recently attempted to create competition in Orlando by selling innovative plans that are less expensive than Florida Blue’s offering. Florida Blue responded by enforcing a policy that no insurance broker may sell Florida Blue policies unless it agrees not to sell any other company’s policies. Because Florida Blue is the dominant insurer in the state, no broker can realistically say no to this restriction. As a result, Oscar was shut out of the market. Oscar has filed a suit alleging violations of the Sherman Act, the Florida antitrust laws, and has also asserted a claim for tortious interference with a business relationship. A copy of the complaint is here.