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Some major systems forbid insurers to sell any plan excluding the hospital from the network. They could also require insurers to design plans that discourage enrollees’ use of less expensive providers.

Senate Judiciary Chair Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has asked the Federal Trade Commission to look into contracts between major health systems and insurers to see whether they might be anticompetitive.

According to Modern Healthcare, Grassley wants the FTC to see whether such contracts are playing a role in the rise of health care costs. Grassley cited a September article from the Wall Street Journal that mentioned “hidden financial arrangements between hospital systems and insurers that included limitations on coverage offered by the plans to their enrollees, which in turn would save the hospitals money.”

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Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.

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