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AP Business Writer

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina’s Blue Cross plan and the national Blue Cross licensing organization want a federal court to reject a lawsuit alleging Blues health insurance plans across the country are conspiring to limit competition.

North Carolina’s largest health insurer and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association deny in court documents filed this week that their business practices violate federal anti-trust laws by carving up the country into exclusive territories.

The lawsuit contends the practice helps local plans dominate their home markets, then use their power to demand discount deals with hospitals that inflate medical costs.

North Carolina’s Blue Cross says buyers across a wide range of industries strike special pricing deals to get the seller’s lowest price, and North Carolina’s insurance commissioner approves insurance rates.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

5/1/2012 3:21:53 PM (GMT -4:00)

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