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Justice Department Investigates Blue Cross Blue Shield

By Ashley Fletcher Frampton
Published March 28, 2011

The U.S. Department of Justice claimed in a lawsuit filed in October that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan was violating antitrust laws in its contracts with hospitals, and now the government is expanding its investigation of the matter.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina appears to be among the targets of that investigation.

Justice Department spokeswoman Gina Talamona said the department’s antitrust division is investigating the possibility of anticompetitive practices in various parts of the country involving “most favored nation” clauses. She decline to discuss specifics or to name regions or states.

Elizabeth Hammond, spokeswoman for Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, said the company had received an inquiry from the Justice Department. She also declined to comment further.

“We did receive an inquiry from the U.S. Department of Justice and are working with our counsel to respond,” Hammond said.

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Affordable Care Act Helping South Carolinians (Episode 2)

Ever-feisty Debbie McDaniel, owner of Columbia’s Revente shops, also joined S.C. Health Care Voices in honoring the anniversary of health-care reform at the State House last week. Debbie read her prepared statement again for our camera afterward. Thanks for standing up and speaking out, Debbie!

Health Care Reform Has 820,000 Fans In South Carolina

Brittanie Turpin, 23, accumulated $20,000 in medical debt from emergency gallbladder surgery last year. “It’s pretty tough without insurance,” Turpin said. Under the Affordable Care Act, passed one year ago, Turpin will be able to stay on her mother’s insurance until she is 26. (Brad Nettles)

From The Post & Courier:

Benefits to S.C. so far

On its first anniversary, the Affordable Care Act has provided health care perks to at least 820,000 South Carolinians. The law is in effect, despite the fact that it is maligned by S.C. Republican leaders and faces court challenges and threats of congressional repeal. It is expected to cost the state between $1 billion and $5 billion over 10 years.

Here are some of the benefits so far for the state:

–46,900 seniors with high prescription drug costs have received rebate checks for $250.

–15,100 young adults can stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26.

–758,000 Medicare enrollees can receive wellness visits and preventative screenings such as colonoscopies and mammograms without co-payments, co-insurance or deductibles.

–Thousands more South Carolinians will benefit as the law becomes fully effective. Various phases guarantee coverage for children with pre-existing conditions, lift lifetime limits on coverage, and ban insurance companies from taking advantage of an application mistake to drop coverage when an individual gets sick, among other provisions.

–$16.8 million to South Carolina so far for grants to hold down insurance premiums, build competitive insurance marketplaces, provide insurance to early retirees and strengthen public health and prevention efforts.

–Provides up to 57,896 small businesses in South Carolina with tax credits to offset the costs of purchasing coverage for their employees.



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