By Consumers For Quality Care, on March 16, 2022
Connecticut consumers are banding together to sue a large hospital system that has gobbled up local hospitals “to extract higher prices from insurers, employers, and patients,” according to Axios. By filing a class action lawsuit, the consumers are acting against the consolidation of health care systems, which often lead to higher prices for consumers.
The group, CT Health Policy Project, alleges that as Hartford HealthCare has bought more hospitals, they used that leverage to bully insurance companies into contracts that hurt consumers. Not only does Hartford HealthCare require insurers to include all its hospitals – including more expensive ones in more competitive areas – in networks, but they also prevent insurers from enacting policies encouraging patients to choose less expensive and higher quality options.
Hartford HealthCare is not the only health care system to use such tactics. Since at least 2018, federal antitrust authorities have monitored similar arraignments, and have taken legal action against bad actors.
CQC urges lawmakers and regulators to crack down on harmful hospital practices like these, which only drive up costs and harm care for consumers.