GREENSBORO, N.C. — A state employer health plan violates the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) by discriminating against transgendered individuals by denying coverage for related procedures and medicines, plaintiffs allege in a March 11 suit filed in North Carolina federal court (Maxwell Kadel, et al. v. Dale Folwell, et al., No. 19-272, M.D. N.C.).
DES MOINES, Iowa — An administrative rule prohibiting Iowa’s Medicaid program from covering transgender surgery conflicts with state law adding gender identity as a protected class and cannot stand, the Iowa Supreme Court held March 8 (Eerieanna Good, et al. v. Iowa Department of Human Services, No. 18-1158, Iowa Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The government should not be permitted to incentivize private companies to participate in its Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) risk corridor program and then retroactively revoke its promises in vague riders, eight amicus curiae parties tell the U.S. Supreme Court in March 8 briefs (Land of Lincoln Mutual Health Insurance Co. v. United States, No. N/A, Moda Health Plan Inc. v. United States, No. 18-1028, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina v. United States, No. 17-2154, Maine Community Health Options v. United States, No. 18-1023, U.S. Sup.).
PORTLAND, Ore. — A deaf man adequately alleges that Wal-Mart and its vision center partner violated the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and various anti-discrimination laws by promising but failing to provide an adequate sign language interpreter, a federal judge in Oregon held March 6 in adopting a magistrate judge’s findings (Larry R. Spiva Jr. v. Walmart, et al., No. 18-1024, D. Ore.).
LOS ANGELES — Substance abuse treatment providers adequately plead breach of contract claims against an insurer, but the remainder of their action fails, a California federal judge held March 4 (TML Recovery v. Humana Inc., No. 18-462, MMR Services LLC v. Humana Inc., et al, No. 18-463, C.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 5 gave the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services until June to respond to its request for an opinion on how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s risk-adjustment program interacts and impacts a similar New York program in two insurers’ case challenging whether the state can take proceeds to which the companies were entitled under the federal law (UnitedHealthcare of New York Inc., et al. v. Maria T. Vullo, et al., No. 18-2583, 2nd Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — An insurer’s denial of coverage for intensive residential health care and substance abuse treatments violated generally accepted standards of care, a federal magistrate judge in California held March 5 in a pair of Employee Retirement Income Security Act class actions (David and Natasha Wit, et al. v. United Behavioral Health, No. 14-02346, Gary Alexander, et al. v. United Behavioral Health, No. 14-5337, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — n agency rule extending how long individuals can receive coverage under threadbare health insurance plans threatens the very communities the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) sought to protect, an amicus curiae told a District of Columbia federal judge on March 1 (Association for Community Affiliated Plans, et al. v. United States Department of Treasury, et al., No. 18-2133, D. D.C.).
LOS ANGELES — A medical provider’s claim that plan documents in its Employee Retirement Income Security Act case may differ from other, undisclosed plan documents, does not survive a motion to dismiss, a federal judge in California held Feb. 27 (Beverly Oaks Physicians Surgical Center LLC, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, et al., No. 18-3866, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31450).
TRENTON, N.J. — A surgeon’s state law claims alleging that an insurer failed to fully compensate him for breast surgery services survives a motion to dismiss, as it is not preempted and the state law claims all appear valid at this stage, a federal judge in New Jersey held Feb. 21 (Tzvi Small, M.D. v. Oxford Health Insurance Inc., et al., No. 18-13120, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27878).
TRENTON, N.J. — A pair of health insurance plans’ anti-assignment provisions are valid and enforceable and bar a provider’s action seeking in excess of $100,000 in Employee Retirement Income Security Act benefits, a federal judge in New Jersey held Feb. 22 (Neurosurgical Associates of NJ PC, et al. v. Aetna Inc., No. 17-13210, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28353).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — States lack standing to challenge rules expanding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive mandate exemptions and cannot prevail even if they did because the rules comply with the law and procedural requirements, the federal defendants defending the rules told a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel in a Feb. 15 brief (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al. v. President, United States of America, et al., Nos. 17-3752, 18-1253,19-1129, 19-1189, 3rd Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congress created an implied contract when it implemented the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) cost-sharing program, an obligation it breached when it never authorized payments, a pair of U.S. Court of Federal Claims judges held in a trio of rulings issued Feb. 14 and Feb. 15 (Community Health Choice Inc. v. The United States, No. 18-5C, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative v. The United States, No. 17-877C, Local Initiative Health Authority, et al. v. The United States, No. 17-1542C, Fed. Clms.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Oregon filed a timely motion seeking intervention in a suit over Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) rules, and adding it as a plaintiff would have no negative impact on the case, a federal judge in California held Feb. 1 (California, et al. v. Alex M. Azar II, et al., No. 17-5783, N.D. Calif.).
SALT LAKE CITY — Because an insurer apparently failed to fully assess the services provided by a mental health care provider who happens to provide those services outdoors, its denial was arbitrary and capricious, a federal judge in Utah said Feb. 13 in remanding a case for further review (Michael and Madeline D. v. Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, No. 17-675, D. Utah, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24367).
NEW YORK — An exemption in an anti-assignment clause for surprise bills potentially provides grounds for avoiding the exclusion and warrants allowing a brain surgery provider to amend his complaint against a patient’s insurer, a federal judge in New York held Feb. 1 (Jeffrey Farkas, M.D. LLC, et al. v. Group Health Inc., et al., No. 18-8535, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17756).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — A home nursing care provider must exhaust all administrative remedies before filing suit because its claim involves authorization for services covered by a Medicare plan, a federal judge in New York held Jan. 29 (Sarene Services Inc., et al. v. Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield, an Anthem Co., No. 17-5276, E.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15605).
BOISE, Idaho — The 2018 law expanding Medicaid in Idaho withstands constitutional scrutiny, a majority of the state’s high court held Feb. 5 (Brent Regan, et al. v. Lawrence Denney, et al., No. 46545, Idaho Sup., 2019 Ida. LEXIS 22).
TRENTON, N.J. — Because all of a surgery provider’s allegations flow through an Employee Retirement Income Security Act-governed plan, its claims seeking reimbursement are preempted and must be dismissed, a federal judge in New Jersey held Jan. 23 (Atlantic Shore Surgical Associates v. United Healthcare/Oxford, et al., No. 18-9506, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14413).
LOS ANGELES — A substance abuse provider who claims in a Feb. 11 brief that its patients’ insurer reneged on promised payment for treatment and the insurer who claims in a motion that the action includes only vague and conclusory allegations await a judge’s decision on the case (TML Recovery v. Humana, No. 18-462, C.D. Calif.).