Health Care attorney, Daniel Schulte, answers questions related to the timing of a lawsuit against Delta Dental. The Q&A can be found in the Journal of Michigan Dental Association (March 2020)
Question: I have been reading about the recent antitrust cases filed against the Delta Dental Association and the state Delta Dental plans. This arrangement has been in place for many years. We have all known about the anticompetitive behavior alleged in these complaints and the adverse effect it has had on dentists and patients for a long time. Is there a reason why the lawsuits were recently filed? Is there a reason this was not done before now?
The filing of the Delta Dental cases (one of these cases was filed by the ADA) may be due to favorable rulings obtained by the plaintiffs in a similar case against the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and several Blues plans including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (the “Blue Cross Case”) recently upheld on appeal. The Blues Case (originally several different cases that were consolidated) is currently pending in an Alabama federal court. Much like the allegations contained in the Delta Dental cases, Plaintiffs in the Blue Cross Case allege that the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and several Blues plans entered into anticompetitive agreements in violation of the federal antitrust laws that prohibit contracts, combinations, or conspiracies that unreasonably restrain trade. They claim these agreements restrict competition among the Blue plans, resulting in geographic market allocations. A subgroup of plaintiffs consisting of hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers further allege that the Blue plans agreed to fix prices for their services. The ownership and control of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and the many Blue plans is very similar to the alleged arrangement between the Delta Dental Association and the many Delta Dental Plans.
Read the complete answer in Journal of the Michigan Dental Association on page 24.
About the author:
Daniel Schulte has more than 25 years of experience helping clients solve tough problems and capitalize on opportunities that require a blend of business and legal expertise. His practice focuses on addressing the legal, business, licensing, and regulatory challenges of health care professionals, organizations, and facilities. Dan understands how legal issues impact business objectives and, as a result, offers his clients practical, results-oriented advice. He is a Certified Public Accountant, former managing partner and current executive committee member of the firm. Dan also serves as co-chair of the firm’s Health Care Practice Group.
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