A group of US companies has agreed to pay a record $1 billion to settle a class action lawsuit alleging they intentionally misled consumers about the cost of their healthcare plans.
The settlement, which comes on top of a $600 million fine levied against the companies by the US Department of Justice last year, follows a $1 million settlement last year by the Department of Labor against three health care companies for misleading claims.
The firms were found to have “negligent conduct” and “deliberate indifference to the health and safety of consumers”.
“The companies’ conduct did not fall within the scope of the law governing the compensation of false statements, but we believe that its damages exceeded the scope and the extent of the harm caused by its conduct,” the Department said in a statement.
The companies are: Anthem Inc, which was fined $1bn in 2016 by the Federal Trade Commission for misleading consumers about its plan to charge them $5,000 more per month than it actually did.