Bill Does Away With State Insurance Rate Provision

RALEIGH (AP) -- Rivals to Blue Cross Blue shield are backing legislation to eliminate a negotiation technique that state health insurers use with doctors and hospitals.

The others say Blue Cross Blue Shield discourages competition.

The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to prevent insurance company contracts from requiring medical providers to accept the lowest prices for services that they accept from any competing health plans. The bill also would prevent providers from having to disclose their rates with another insurance carrier.

Ken Lewis with the North Carolina Association of Health Plans says Blue Cross uses its sheer size to get the rates it wants.

Blue Cross opposes the bill. Lobbyist Chris Evans says it infringes on its ability to keep costs down for its nearly 4 million members.