FTC Approves Final Order Settling Charges that the Minnesota Rural Health Cooperative Fixed Healthcare Reimbursement Rates

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final Order settling charges that the Minnesota Rural Healthcare Cooperative eliminated competition among its doctors and hospitals members by orchestrating agreements to fix the prices at which they contract with health insurance plans and to refuse to deal with plans that did not go along with its inflated reimbursement rates. The Order bars the Minnesota Rural Healthcare Cooperative from using coercive tactics or refusals to deal to secure favorable terms from insurance plans, and requires it to renegotiate all existing contracts with health plans and to submit the renegotiated contracts for state approval.

The Commission vote approving the final Order and a letter to the member of the public who commented on the Order was 5-0. The Order can be found on the FTC’s website and as a link to this press release. (FTC File No. 051-0199; the staff contact is Bradley Albert, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-3670; see press release dated June 18, 2010).

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s website at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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(FYI 54.2010.wpd)