A proposed class action filed in Pennsylvania alleges defendants Davis Vision, Inc., HVHC, Inc., and Highmark Health violated federal antitrust laws by subjecting independent eyecare providers in the state to “anticompetitive and other unlawful practices” in providing services to patients covered under Davis Vision’s insurance. Filed on behalf of Pennsylvania ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians, and their practices, the lawsuit specifically claims the defendants’ anticompetitive practices prohibit independent eyecare providers from “steering patients to eyeglass frames and lenses that are less expensive, more convenient to obtain” or of a higher quality than those mandated by Davis Vision.
Moreover, the case claims Davis Vision’s “mandatory laboratory policy” forces independent eyecare providers to direct eyeglass frame and lens orders from patients with Davis Vision insurance to “a laboratory owned by Davis Vision for fabrication,” which the case claims results in “needless cost and delay for patients” and care providers alike.
“By virtue of [the defendants’] vertical integration, their anti-steering and other restrictions let them capture more money for themselves at every step of distribution—patients are steered to pay for eye exams at Highmark-owned Visionworks locations, and to buy frames and lenses fabricated at Visionworks or Davis Vision-controlled laboratories,” the lawsuit alleges. “This scheme lets Davis Vision pocket or re-capture a substantial percentage of its frame for lens ‘dispensing fee’ for itself, instead of pay that fee to Independent Pennsylvania Eyecare Providers or competing laboratories.”