BALTIMORE — President Donald Trump’s public disdain for, and regulatory response to, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) are not evidence that the sky is falling and are not sufficient to give Maryland standing to sue to protect the law, a federal judge in Maryland held Feb. 1 (Maryland v. United States, et al., No. 18-2849, D. Md.).
CINCINNATI — An insurer’s blanket exclusion on wilderness therapy coverage applies equally to mental health and other medical claims and does not violate the federal law, a federal judge in Ohio held Jan. 28 (A.G., et al. v. Community Insurance Co., et al., No. 180300, S.D. Ohio, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13168).
ATLANTA — A medical provider presents no evidence suggesting that an employer chooses to impose anti-assignment provisions only when used by women or minorities, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Jan. 28 in affirming dismissal of a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) discrimination action (W.A. Griffin v. General Electric Co., et al., No. 18-10046, 11th Cir.; 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 2756).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A surgery center lacks valid assignments of rights, but even if it had standing to pursue its Employee Retirement Income Security Act claims, it fails to adequately state any of them, an insurer tells a California federal judge in a Jan. 28 memo (California Surgical Institute Inc., et al. v. Aetna Life and Casualty [Bermuda] Ltd., et al., No. 18-2157, C.D. Calif.).
TRENTON, N.J. — A sleep center’s claims invoke the Employee Retirement Income Security Act despite its best attempts to circumvent that fact and are preempted or barred by a health insurance plan’s anti-assignment provision, an insurer tells a federal judge in New Jersey in a Jan. 28 reply brief (Sleep Tight Diagnostic Center, et al. v. Aetna Inc., et al., No. 18-3556, D. N.J.).
SAN FRANCISCO — An anti-abortion organization told a federal judge on Jan. 22 that a state’s motion to intervene comes much too late in a case challenging rules expanding exemptions to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive mandate for moral and religious objectors (The State of California, et al. v. Alex M. Azar II, et al., No. 17-5783, N.D. Calif.).
ST. LOUIS — A couple adequately allege injury from what they claim is an improper denial of health insurance coverage, and the fact that they assigned the right to any recovery in their ERISA suit to the provider does not strip them of it, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) tells a federal appeals court in a Jan. 22 amicus curiae brief (Ivan Mitchell, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, et al., No. 18-2784, 8th Cir.).
ST. LOUIS — A health insurer had no policy for calculating air transport payments before receiving a claim, and in an effort to evade this fact created post-hoc rules and justifications, a couple told the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 10 in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act suit (Ivan Mitchell, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, et al., No. 18-2784, 8th Cir.).
DALLAS — A woman lacks standing to pursue equitable claims arising from alleged discrimination in the provision of physical therapy, and her claims for damages under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other statutes are prohibited, a federal judge in Texas held Jan. 16 (Jane Cummings v. Premier Rehab P.L.LC., No. 18-649, N.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7587).
LOS ANGELES — An insurer and employer on Jan. 4 appealed a California federal judge’s conclusion that they improperly paid insureds rather than an out-of-network provider and the resulting $418,326.6 judgment against them (Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital v. Community Insurance Co., d/b/a Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, et al., No. 16-3722, C.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES — The question of whether an anti-assignment provision precludes an out-of-network provider’s suit including California unfair competition law (UCL) claims or whether the insurer’s conduct waived the defense lays before a California federal judge after a Jan. 14 brief (California Surgical Institute Inc. v. Aetna Life and Casualty [Bermuda] Ltd., et al., No. 18-2157, C.D. Calif.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Procedural issues and the harm rules expanding Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive mandate exemptions pose to states warrant an injunction, and the impossibility of crafting perfectly limited relief requires a nationwide injunction, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held Jan. 14 (Pennsylvania, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-4540, E.D. Pa.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A social services provider’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies before seeking tort recovery from the state for health insurance costs incurred under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) warranted rejecting the suit, a California appeals court held Jan. 11 (Social Vocational Services Inc. v. Nancy Bargman, et al., No. C083251, Calif. App., 3rd Dist.).
SAN FRANCISCO — On the eve of their effective date, a federal judge in California enjoined rules expanding religious and moral exemptions to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive mandate, issuing a rare Sunday opinion on Jan. 13. The defendants have already indicated that they will appeal the ruling. (California, et al. v. Don J. Wright, et al., No. 17-5783, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13290).
SEATTLE — A putative class’s claims involving insurance coverage for outdoor residential mental health treatment may be dismissed without notice because dismissal comes without prejudice and nothing precludes any proposed class member from pursing his or her own litigation, a lead plaintiff who recently resolved her own Employee Retirement Income Security Act claims against the insurer told a federal judge in Washington on Jan. 10 (A.Z., et al. v. Regence Blueshield, et al., No. 17-1292, W.D. Wash.).
SALT LAKE CITY — An insurer improperly denied benefits for residential treatment for a child with Asperger’s syndrome under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and laws governing mental health treatment, a woman alleged Jan. 9 after a judge allowed her to file an amended complaint over the objections of the insurer (Melissa P., et al. v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-216, D. Utah).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 7 declined review of a case alleging an insurer discriminates against African-Americans and women providers under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) by selectively enforcing anti-assignment provisions (W.A. Griffin v. Verizon Communications Inc., et al., No. 18-523, U.S. Sup.).
DALLAS — A deaf and nearly blind woman’s complaint that an eye care provider failed to provide a certified interpreter does not adequately allege discrimination under the ADA or ACA, a federal judge in Texas held Jan. 3 (Jane Cummings v. Total Eye Care, No. 18-546, N.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 862).
LOS ANGELES — A patient who was told that his surgery would cost only what remained of his out-of-pocket insurance maximum did not enter into a contact with the provider to pay the entire $72,718.80 cost of his procedure, a California appeals court held Dec. 20 (Skull Base Medical Group v. Thomas Mallo, No. B287082, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 8625).
DETROIT — The passage of more than 100 days since a court remanded an Employee Retirement Income Security Act case for a benefits determination warrants finding administrative remedies exhausted and reopening a case, a couple tells a federal judge in Michigan in a Jan. 2 brief. But in a response filed the same day, the insurer argues that a determination is forthcoming (Paul Zack, et al. v. McLaren Health Advantage Inc., No. 17-11253, E.D. Mich.).