BOZEMAN – Five Montana hospitals are settling a lawsuit that claimed they made a deal with an insurer to inflate employee health coverage prices in return for $26 million.
The hospitals, which deny wrongdoing, agreed to pay $6.9 million to employees to resolve the case, “The Bozeman Daily Chronicle” reported Nov. 2. A U.S. District Court judge in Great Falls preliminarily approved the settlement Oct. 17, and notices were sent to thousands of hospital employees who could be entitled to the money.
The complaint says the hospitals agreed in 2012 to exclusively buy employee health insurance plans from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana for six years in exchange for about $26 million and two seats on the insurer’s board of directors.
The hospitals involved include Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital, Billings Clinic, St. Peter’s Health in Helena, Community Medical Center in Missoula and Northern Montana Hospital in Havre.