Georgia takes aim at Blue Cross contracts

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ATLANTA — A newspaper reports that Georgia's largest health insurer has such a strong grip on the market that hospitals aren't able to make better deals with other insurers.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports today that a clause in contracts between hospitals and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia is under fire.

The clauses mean the company's customers get the lowest prices for hospital stays and related expenses. But some say it also allows Blue Cross to restrain competition and keep prices high.

State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine has said the contractual agreements aren't legal in Georgia. In July he told Blue Cross and other companies to rid their contract of the clauses.

Blue Cross refused and instead filed a lawsuit against Oxendine. That case is pending in court.

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