Antitrust regulators have expanded a probe of Blue Cross health insurance plans' contracts with hospitals to several more states, including North Carolina, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The investigation is looking into whether Blue Cross plans forced hospitals to sign contracts that stifle competition from rival insurers and raise prices for patients. The so-called "most-favored nation" clauses have been a focus of a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit filed last fall against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
The federal investigators have sent civil subpoenas to Blue plans in other states, including Ohio, Kansas, Virginia and North Carolina, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Lew Borman, a spokesman for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, declined to comment. The Chapel Hill company is this state's largest health insurer, with 3.7 million members.