BOSTON — A woman’s Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action seeking disgorgement and an injunction barring an insurer from denying proton beam therapy claims simply repackages a denial of benefits claim and must be dismissed without prejudice, a federal judge in Massachusetts said March 25 (Kate Weissman v. United Healthcare Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-10580, D. Mass., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51568).
HARTFORD, Conn. — The portion of a class of Medicare beneficiaries placed on observation status after being admitted the hospital as inpatients and now suing the federal government for depriving them of their property interest in Part A coverage have shown that the U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) violated the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a federal judge in Connecticut ruled March 24, ordering that those members should be permitted to appeal the denial of their coverage (Christina Alexander, et al. v. Alex M. Azar II, No. 11-1703, D. Conn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50636).
BATON ROUGE, La. — According to the court’s docket, a federal judge on March 23 continued the May 11 trial date for a health care discrimination case involving a deaf women after the parties pointed out the state of emergency and that the health care professionals involved in the battle against the novel coronavirus at the heart of the state’s “stay-at-home” order will comprise nearly all the trial’s witnesses (Katrina Rivers LaBouliere, et al. v. Our Lady of the Lake Hospital Inc., No. 16-785, M.D. La.).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Outside reviews and treatment records support an insurer’s conclusion that a child’s mental health issues could have been treated at a lower level of care, a federal judge in New York held March 19, finding that the insurer properly denied coverage for wilderness treatments (Julie L., et al. v. Excellus Health Plan Inc., et al., No. 18-6753, W.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47734).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — In granting financial hardship waivers, a health care provider did not fraudulently misrepresent claims it submitted to an insurer nor interfere with the insurer’s contract with insureds, a New York appellate court affirmed March 18 (Oxford Health Plans [NY] Inc., et al. v. Biomed Pharms Inc., No. 2017-02971, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2nd Dept., 2020 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1946).
ST. LOUIS — An insurer properly reimbursed an air-ambulance transport company for services it provided to an insured, and there is insufficient evidence that its explanation was a post hoc litigation defense, an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel said March 20 in affirming two judgments and reversing a third (Ivan Mitchell, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, et al., No. 18-2784, Ivan Mitchell, et al. v Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, et al., No. 18-2890, 8th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 8818).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — A more full record allows for the conclusion that an anti-assignment provision prevents a chiropractor’s New York breach of contract claim, a federal judge in New York said March 17 in denying him summary judgment and entering a take-nothing judgment (Raymond A. Semente, D.C., P.C. v. Empire Healthcare, et al., No. 14-5823, E.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45276).
TRENTON, N.J. — A sleep center’s reconsideration motion largely reargues points already rejected, but even those arguments do not suggest that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act does not preempt the claims, a federal judge in New Jersey said Feb. 27 (Sleep Tight Diagnostic Center LLC v. Aetna Inc., et al., No. 18-3556, D. N.J.).
NEW YORK — An assignment of rights gives a medical provider standing under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and the statute preempts his state law action, a New York justice held March 12 (Bassel v. Aetna Health & Life Ins. Co., 8280/19, N.Y. Sup., Queens Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Petitioners and a host of amicus curiae parties told the Supreme Court in a plethora of briefs filed between March 2 and March 9 that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) permit religious and moral exemptions to the contraceptive mandate (Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania, et al., Donald J. Trump, et al. v. Pennsylvania, Nos. 19-431, 19-454, U.S. Sup.).
BOSTON — Clear error review in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act mental health benefits case requires an evidentiary hearing to ensure that the court does not erroneously read the record as a judge did in determining that residential treatments were not medically necessary in the absence of acute symptoms, a woman said in March 9 briefing to the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Jane Doe v. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Inc., et al., No. 19-1879, 1st Cir.).
AUSTIN, Texas — An insurance group’s challenge to Texas rules governing insurance payments for out-of-network care are not precluded by governmental immunity, a state appeals court held March 9 (Texas Department of Insurance v. Texas Association of Health Plans, No. 03-19-00185-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 1872).
NEWARK, N.J. — An insurer outsourced the handling of out-of-network insurance claims, giving it no fiduciary role in a provider’s attempts at recovering $595,833.53, a federal judge in New Jersey said March 6 (IJKP Opco LLC, et al. v. General Trading Co, et al., No. 17-6131, D. N.J., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39585).
NEW ORLEANS — A discrimination claim under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) permits an award of emotional distress damages, a deaf and blind woman argues in asking the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for en banc rehearing on March 8 (Jane Cummings v. Premier Rehab Keller PLLC, et al., No. 19-10169, 5th Cir.).
LOS ANGELES — Allowing an insurer to sidestep California law mandating that providers receive reasonable rates for emergency care would not be following the intent of the law, a state appeals court held Feb. 27 (San Jose Neurospine v. Aetna Health of California Inc., et al., No. B296716, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A provider group’s claim to full compensation for a member’s surgical procedure is not supported by the plan language, but it is impossible to tell from the existing record whether the payments the insurer did make complied with the plan, a federal judge in New York held March 2 (Long Island Neurological Associates P.C. v. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, et al., No. 18-3963, E.D. N.Y.).
MINNEAPOLIS — A health insurance plan violated the Parity Act by denying coverage at residential treatment facilities despite covering similar treatment in the skilled nursing setting, a federal judge in Minnesota said Feb. 28 in adopting a report and recommendation in a case the magistrate judge termed not “run-of-the-mill” (L.P., et al. v. BCBMS Inc., et al., BCBSM Inc., et al. v. J.P. No. 18-1241, D. Minn.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 2 agreed to decide whether eliminating the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual mandate penalty rendered the entire law unconstitutional (California, et al. v. Texas, et al, No. 19-840, United States House of Representatives v. Texas, et al., No. 19-841, U.S. Sup.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — There is no evidence that an insurer requested that a spine surgery provider perform procedures on insureds, dooming the provider’s quantum meruit claim, a California federal judge held Feb. 24 (California Spine and Neurosurgery Institute v. United Healthcare Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-2417, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32056).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — While wrong on the merits, various states’ cross-petition provides the opportunity for consideration of all issues surrounding a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual mandate challenge, two petitioners told the U.S. Supreme Court in letter briefs filed Feb. 19 (Texas, et al. v. State of California, et al., No 19-1019, U.S. Sup.).