Oscar Health to appeal judge's decision to toss lawsuit against Florida Blue

Gavel with scales of justice in background
Oscar Health will appeal in its lawsuit against Florida Blue. (William_Potter/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Oscar Health will appeal a judge’s decision to toss its lawsuit against Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida over insurance broker agreements in the state. 

Oscar first sued Florida Blue in November, claiming the insurers’ agreements with local brokers prevented Oscar from growing its reach in Florida’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) markets and thus was an antitrust violation. 

The startup insurer alleged that Florida Blue pressured brokers to push its plans over Oscar’s, because the Oscar plans were less expensive and as such likely to attract customers. Oscar said in the suit that more than 160 brokers have left deals with Oscar thanks to the efforts of Florida Blue. 

However, a federal judge tossed the case late last month, arguing Oscar had failed to prove that Florida Blue’s relationships with brokers was preventing them from expanding in the state’s market. 

RELATED: Oscar Health plans to grow ACA exchange footprint to 6 more states in 2020 

The same Florida judge also rejected an injunction request from Oscar on the grounds that it had not proven its claims against Florida Blue. 

Oscar Health said in a statement that it’s confident in the appeal, despite the prior setback. The health plan said it believes a successful appeal will nurture greater competition in Florida’s ACA marketplaces and will allow brokers to work more effectively. 

“Oscar is committed to consumer choice and refuses to stand by as Florida Blue enforces this anti-consumer, anti-competitive policy,” Oscar said in the statement. 

The Department of Justice previously weighed in on the ongoing case, siding with Oscar. 

In a statement, Florida Blue emphasized that Oscar's lawsuit was dismissed with "prejudice," and the judge agreed its broker deals are lawful.

"We will continue to vigorously defend against this lawsuit on appeal, all the while continuing to support our contracted general agents who are delivering on our mission of helping the people and communities of Florida achieve better health," the insurer said.