Mealey's Health Care / ACA

  • October 02, 2019

    Judge Adopts Report Finding Conflicting Evidence Dooms Mental Health ERISA Claim

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Conflicting medical opinions and evidence do not support the conclusion that an insurer acted improperly when it denied coverage for mental health treatments after a suicide attempt, a New York judge held Sept. 30 in adopting a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation (Samuel Halberg, et al. v. United Behavioral Health, et al., No. 16-6622, E.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169679).

  • October 01, 2019

    Plaintiffs Have Standing, But Not Support For Parity Act Case, Judge Says

    SALT LAKE CITY — A man who claims that he spent $340,000 on his daughter’s mental health treatments after an insurer improperly denied coverage has standing but has not adequately alleged a violation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, a federal judge in Utah said Sept. 27 (Jeff N., et al. v. United Healthcare Insurance Co., No. 18-710, D. Utah, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167420).

  • October 01, 2019

    After Paring Claims, Judge Leaves Parity Act Claims In Wilderness Therapy Case

    SALT LAKE CITY — A family’s class action allegations involving the denial of coverage for wilderness treatment under an Employee Retirement Income Security Act health plan are duplicative or fail to state a claim, but their claims involving allegedly disparate treatment in the mental health setting may continue, a federal judge in Utah said Sept. 27 (K.H.B., et al. v. UnitedHealthCare Insurance Co., No. 18-795, D. Utah, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167183).

  • September 30, 2019

    Provider Seeks Rehearing After Panel Rules On Assignment, ERISA Preemption

    NEW ORLEANS — A dialysis provider in a Sept. 25 petition asks the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to review a Sept. 11 panel ruling finding that a health care plan precluded assignment of Employee Retirement Income Security Act rights and that ERISA preempted a Tennessee statute making insurers liable to third-party providers (Dialysis Newco Inc., et al. v. Community Health Systems Group Health Plan, et al., No. 18-40863, 5th Cir.).

  • September 26, 2019

    United Wants Judge To Reconsider Facility-Fee Coverage Class Ruling

    NEW YORK — A health insurer in a Sept. 25 memo asks a federal judge in New York to reconsider a Sept. 11 ruling that allegations that the insurer improperly denied coverage for out-of-network facility fees for certain providers supported certification of a class seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, but not classwide benefit awards, contending that determining whether providers properly obtained an assignment of rights under Employee Retirement Income Security Act plans requires claim-by-claim analysis precluding certification (The Medical Society of the State of New York, et al. v. UnitedHealth Group Inc., et al., No. 16-5265, S.D. N.Y.).

  • September 25, 2019

    Dialysis Provider’s Suit Fails On Statutory, Standing Grounds, Judge Says

    CINCINNATI — A health insurance administrator’s decision to make all dialysis companies out-of-network providers does not violate the Medicare Secondary Payor Act (MSPA), and the provider’s assignment is limited to insurance benefits and does not include the right to litigate, a federal judge in Ohio held Sept. 20 (DaVita Inc., et al. v. Marietta Memorial Hospital Employee Health Benefit Plan, et al., No. 18-1739, S.D. Ohio, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160793).

  • September 25, 2019

    Judge Says Attorney Fees Warranted In Health Care Spat, But Wants More Evidence

    TRENTON, N.J. — A man’s “completely unsubstantiated” allegations seeking usual and customary medical expenses for which his plan clearly does cover warrant an award of attorney fees, but the plan sponsor must submit more evidence demonstrating that its requested fees constitute reasonable charges, a federal judge in New Jersey held Sept. 24 (Clifford Robinson v. Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-4600, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162702).

  • September 24, 2019

    Couple’s ERISA Case For Inpatient Treatment Largely Rejected By Judge

    NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge in Louisiana largely rejected a couple’s Employee Retirement Income Act claims in Sept. 19 and 24 rulings and found that the law’s conflict preemption statute doomed the state law claims (Soileau & Associates LLC, et al. v. Louisiana Health Service & Indemnity Co., Nos. 18-310, 18-7613, E.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159622).

  • September 20, 2019

    Cardiovascular Specialists’ Contract Claim Sole Survivor Of Motion To Dismiss

    NEW YORK — Allegations that health care providers treated individuals in government and church plans outside the reach of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act precludes preemption, and while the breach of contract claim survives, the remaining 10 claims are largely duplicative and must be dismissed, a federal judge in New York held Sept. 17 (Perry A. Frankel, et al. v. U.S. Healthcare Inc., et al., No. 18-6378, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159794).

  • September 20, 2019

    Insurer Says Standing, Merits Don’t Require Review Of Medicaid Hearing Challenge

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court lacks jurisdiction over a Kentucky top court ruling on standing, and nothing in a ruling precluding a hearing after an insurer denied coverage under Medicaid would warrant review, the insurer tells the court in a Sept. 19 respondent brief (Lettie Sexton, et al. v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, et al., No. 18-1446, U.S. Sup.).

  • September 20, 2019

    Pay Rate Allegations Keep Health Insurance Contract Claims Alive, Judge Says

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — A medical provider’s allegation that an insurer confirmed a 70 percent reimbursement rate supports breach of contract claims because it goes beyond simple coverage verification, a federal judge in California held Sept. 17 (California Spine and Neurosurgery Institute v. United Healthcare Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-2417, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159286).

  • September 18, 2019

    Judge:  Allegations Support Mental Health Coverage Disparity Case

    SALT LAKE CITY — There is no evidence that plaintiffs seeking to recover Employee Retirement Income Security Act benefits for mental health treatments are part of other class actions, and they successfully allege disparate treatment, a federal judge held Sept. 13 (David S., et al. v. United Healthcare Insurance Co., No. 18-803, D. Utah, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157046).

  • September 17, 2019

    Amici Say 5th Circuit Ruling Contravenes Precedent, ERISA

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Direct payments to health care providers do not waive anti-assignment provisions or transform the provider into the type of party that can sue an insurer under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, industry groups tell the U.S. Supreme Court in a Sept. 13 amicus curiae brief opposing review (Louisiana Health Service & Indemnity Co. v. Encompass Office Solutions, Inc., No. 19-196, U.S. Sup.).

  • September 17, 2019

    Insurers, Amici Say ACA Payments Still Due, Warn Of Fallout If Not Paid

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In Sept. 6 amicus briefing and Aug. 30 briefs by the petitioners, the U.S. Supreme Court heard details regarding the harm caused by the government’s failure to follow through on billions of dollars of promised Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) risk corridor payments and that later appropriations riders cannot be read as repealing those obligations (Land of Lincoln Mutual Health Insurance Co. v. United States, No. 18-1038, Moda Health Plan Inc., et al. v. United States, No. 18-1028, Maine Community Health Options v. United States, No. 18-1023, U.S. Sup.).

  • September 16, 2019

    2nd Circuit Grants HHS Extension In New York-ACA Risk-Adjustment Program Spat

    NEW YORK — A judge on Aug. 22 clarified that all parties have until Sept. 23 to respond to an amicus curiae brief in which the United States says the state cannot enact regulations that alter the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) risk corridor program (UnitedHealthcare of New York Inc., et al. v. Maria T. Vullo, et al., No. 18-2583, 2nd Cir.).

  • September 16, 2019

    Magistrate Judge Says Claims Survive Summary Judgment, Suggests Remand

    CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — Assignments of rights give medical providers standing to pursue their action, and their dismissal of Employee Retirement Income Security Act claim strips the court of jurisdiction, a federal magistrate judge in New York held in a Sept. 3 report and recommendation (Long Island Thoracic Surgery, et al. v. Building Service 32BJ Health Fund, No. 17-163, E.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150761).

  • September 16, 2019

    United Facility-Fee Coverage Case Granted Class Status

    NEW YORK — Allegations that an insurer improperly denied coverage for out-of-network facility fees for certain providers support certification of a class seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, but not classwide benefit awards, a federal judge in New York held Sept. 11 (The Medical Society of the State of New York, et al. v. UnitedHealth Group Inc., et al., No. 16-5265, S.D. N.Y.).

  • September 13, 2019

    Appeals Court: Plan Bars Rights Assignment; ERISA Preempts Tennessee Health Law

    NEW ORLEANS — A district court erred in finding ambiguous an anti-assignment provision in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan and that Tennessee law making insurers liable to third-party providers necessarily implicates the plan and is preempted, a panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Sept. 11 (Dialysis Newco Inc., et al. v. Community Health Systems Group Health Plan, et al., No. 18-40863, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 27418).

  • September 13, 2019

    Out-Of-Network Health Care Provider Sees Texas Suit Reinstated

    CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — An out-of-network health care provider may proceed to trial on claims that an insurer did not reimburse it at the appropriate rate and has standing as the assignee of the plan beneficiaries, a Texas appeals court held Sept. 12 in reversing a directed verdict and ordering a new trial (South Coast Spine & Rehabilitation, PA v. Brownsville Independent School District, et al., No. 13-18-00006-CV, Texas App., 13th Dist., 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 8258).

  • September 13, 2019

    Judge Finds Allegations Can’t Support State Law Claims By Surgery Provider

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A spinal surgery provider’s allegations that it continues to serve an insurer’s customers provides a basis for a declaratory relief action, but its state law claims fail as it is not a party to the contract and did not provide services to the insurer, a federal judge in Florida held Sept. 11 (Columna Inc. v. Aetna Health Inc., No. 19-80522, S.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155449).

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