HELENA ((AP) — A federal judge has approved a government antitrust settlement involving two Montana health insurers after one of the companies was broken up.
U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull approved the settlement on Thursday, saying that it was in the public interest.
State and federal prosecutors filed the lawsuit against Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana last year after the state's largest insurer offered $26.3 million to five hospitals if they switched their employees' insurance coverage.
The five hospitals are owners of New West Health Services and prosecutors said the deal would have stifled competition in those markets.
The settlement allowed the deal to go through if an outside company bought New West's commercial business to preserve competition. PacificSource Health Plans took over the 8,600 policies at the end of February.