Friday, January 21, 2011
The City of Pontiac recently retained Sommers Schwartz to file a lawsuit in Detroit federal court against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Ascension Health and 21 Michigan hospitals to recover millions of dollars in illegal hospital charges. According to an investigation by the United States Department of Justice, BCBS demanded, and the hospitals agreed, to overcharge patients who were insured by BCBS competitors. The overcharges ranged from between 15% and 30% on average and began around 2007. The lawsuit previously filed by the U.S. Justice Department and former Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox against the Blues alleges the Blues agreements with the hospitals stifles competition and drives up consumers’ insurance costs.
The City of Pontiac lawsuit was filed by Sommers Schwartz class-action attorney Jason J. Thompson. Mr. Thompson explained why the case was filed: “When Michigan families and cities are trying to cope with massive home foreclosures, double-digit unemployment levels and budget deficits, BCBS decided it was time to increase their strong-hold on Michigan’s insurance market and line their pockets with millions in illegal and phoney hospital charges.” Thompson explains the hospital defendants are equally culpable in the scam, “Many CEO’s from the state’s largest hospitals stood silent and willingly collected excessive reimbursements”. He added, “We intend to recoup excessive charges and return it to Michigan families and cities like Pontiac. They need it.”