Mealey's Health Care / ACA

  • 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).

  • September 12, 2019

    Surgeon Partially Prevails On Trial Of Unpaid Injection Claims, Judge Says

    LOS ANGELES — A gynecological surgeon provided sufficient evidence that an insurer improperly denied claims seeking payment for vitamin injections, a federal judge in California held in an Aug. 30 finding of fact and conclusion of law that otherwise largely affirmed the insurer’s decisions (Adel F. Samaan M.D. v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No.17-1690, C.D. Calif.).

  • September 05, 2019

    Judge Adopts Report Finding Health Plan Remedy Exhaustion Claims Conclusory

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Sept. 5 rejected a health care provider’s objections and affirmed a report and recommendation in which a magistrate judge concluded that the plaintiff had not adequately demonstrated exhaustion of administrative remedies under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (GVB MD LLC, et al. v. United Healthcare Insurance Co., No. 19-20727, S.D. Fla.).

  • September 04, 2019

    Fiduciary Role, Violations Lacking In Health Care Broker ERISA Case, Judge Says

    OMAHA, Neb. — Insurance brokers were not fiduciaries of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan or did not violate their duties while helping secure health care plan contracts, a federal judge in Nebraska held in granting summary judgment on Aug. 30 (Central Valley AG Cooperative, et al. v. Daniel K. Leonard, et al., No. 17-379, D. Neb., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148337).

  • September 04, 2019

    Medical Provider Handed Mixed Bag As It Partially Prevails Against Insurer

    TRENTON, N.J. — A health plan never explains why its Medicare-based reimbursement rate would permit it to deny claims for sterile supplies or anesthesia, a federal magistrate judge in New Jersey recommended Aug. 16 in granting a provider summary judgment on the issue while also partially granting a dueling motion by the provider (Montefiore Medical Center v. Local 272 Welfare Fund, et al., No. 17-10213, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140293).

  • September 04, 2019

    Judge Bars Former CEO From Depositions In Health Care Coverage Spat

    SAN ANTONIO — A former executive for bankrupt medical providers may not attend depositions related to an insurer’s cross-claim alleging that the companies operated a scheme designed to increase billing rates, a federal magistrate judge in Texas held Aug. 30 (Neil Gilmour III, et al. v. Aetna Health Inc., et al., No. 17-510, W.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148232).

  • September 03, 2019

    Insurers Say Congress Never Repealed Risk Corridor, Still Owes Billions Under ACA

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Appropriations riders simply limited Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) risk-corridor funding and cannot be read as repealing payments obligations under the program, five insurers told the U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 30 (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.).

  • August 28, 2019

    Health Insurer Asks U.S. High Court To Take Up Case Over Coverage

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Louisiana Health Service & Indemnity Co., doing business as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana (BCBSLA), filed a petition for a writ of certiorari on Aug. 14 asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether a federal court may expand the boundary of a state law and whether medical providers may pursue an action under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Louisiana Health Service & Indemnity Co. v. Encompass Office Solutions, Inc., No. 19-196, U.S. Sup.).

  • August 26, 2019

    Plaintiffs Seek Class Status Of Autism Treatment Exclusion Action

    SEATTLE — Plaintiffs challenging an insurer’s blanket exclusion of applied behavior analysis therapy as used for those with autism asked a federal court in Washington on Aug. 15 to certify the case as a class action (J.R., et al. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, et al., No. 18-01191, W.D. Wash.).

  • August 21, 2019

    Orthopedic Provider, Aetna Square Off Over $335,000 In Unpaid Bills

    TRENTON, N.J. — A health insurer ask a federal judge in New Jersey to dismiss an orthopedic medical provider’s “kitchen-sink approach” to allegations in a July 17 memo, but the provider says in an Aug. 20 opposition that Aetna relies on outdated plan documents and attacks claims pleaded in the alternative (Somerset Orthopedic Associates, et al. v. Aetna Inc., et al., No. 19-12544, D. N.J.).

  • August 21, 2019

    Judge: Lack Of Plan Documents Dooms Expanded Health Care Coverage Class

    TRENTON, N.J. — A proposed class of self-insured health plans in which Aetna Life Insurance Co. allegedly imposes undisclosed internal standards for coverage would require access to plan documents the plaintiffs have not submitted, a federal judge in New Jersey said Aug. 20 in dismissing the expanded class (E.S., et al. v. Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. Benefits Administration Committee, et al., No. 17-3351, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141163).

  • August 20, 2019

    Couple Wants 10th Circuit To Hear Case Alleging Health Care Discrimination

    SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah federal judge on Aug. 13 granted summary judgment to an interpreter service accused of discrimination under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other laws.  The couple filed a notice on Aug. 18 that they intended to take the issue to the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Zach Johnston, et al. v. Intermountain Healthcare, et al., No. 18-3, D. Utah).