PITTSBURGH (AP) – A federal judge has approved the withdrawal of a proposed settlement of health insurance ratepayers and insurer Highmark Inc.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti on Tuesday granted the request from Royal Mile Co. and other ratepayers.

The lawsuit seeking class action status was filed in 2010 and alleged that Highmark and UPMC conspired to control the market and charge excessive premiums and reimbursement rates, respectively.

Under the settlement, Highmark would have paid $4.5 million to attorneys for ratepayers and vowed to support competition between insurers.

But plaintiffs’ attorneys later said Highmark was already planning to take the steps for greater competition, so the settlement didn’t reflect new value.

The judge said Highmark initially opposed withdrawing the settlement but later withdrew the opposition.

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