Anthem Blue Cross to pay $8M in class-action settlement

Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct information about a lawsuit that a Los Angeles woman filed against Anthem.

As a part of a class-action settlement, Anthem Blue Cross in California has agreed to reimburse about 50,000 customers nearly $8.3 million following accusations that it raised the costs of policies mid-year, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The settlement resolves two lawsuits that accused the health insurer of increasing annual deductibles and various prescription costs in the middle of the year, which is a breach of contract, and taking part in unfair business practices.

As plaintiff put it in a recent news conference: "My deductible had become a moving target. ... It's as if Anthem Blue Cross changed the rules of the game in the middle of the game."

Anthem Blue Cross did not admit liability with the settlement, but agreed to it in order to avoid more expenses involved in the lawsuit continuing, according to the article.

Consumer Watchdog, which jointly represented the plaintiffs, says checks will be mailed out in December to the 50,000 consumers, and the average amount will be $167. One unidentified consumer will receive $19,000, and four plaintiffs in the case will receive an additional $10,000, subject to court approval, the L.A. Times notes.

Previously, a Los Angeles woman filed suit against Anthem alleging breach of contract after she said it refused to cover her Hepatitis C treatment, which the insurer had deemed not medically necessary. Meanwhile, another insurer in the state, Blue Shield of California, has faced regulatory scrutiny that has even led to the company losing its long-held tax-exempt status.

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