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.).
FORT WORTH, Texas — A federal judge in Texas entered final judgment on his ruling that Congress’ elimination of the penalty for individual mandate noncompliance rendered the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) unconstitutional and on Dec. 31 stayed the remainder of the case, paving the way for an appeal (Texas, et al. v. U.S.A., et al., No. 18-167, N.D. Texas).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Dec. 12 granted preliminary approval to a class action settlement providing for full payment of out-of-pocket expenses allegedly incurred by a health insurer’s failure to cover comprehensive breastfeeding and lactation support counseling in violation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Lindsay Ferrer, et al. v. CareFirst Inc., et al., No. 16-2162, D. D.C.).
NEWARK, N.J. — An anti-assignment provision in a health care insurance contract is not subject to an alternative interpretation that could create ambiguity and was not waived, a federal judge in New Jersey held Dec. 14 in dismissing a provider’s case (Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute v. Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-8848, D. N.J.).
SAN FRANCISCO — HIV/AIDS drug purchasers who allege that a health insurer violated their privacy and discriminated against them by requiring the use of mail order or pickup services fail to state claims under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), California unfair competition law (UCL) or Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a federal judge in California held Dec. 12 (John Doe One, et al. v. CVS Pharmacy Inc., et al., No. 18-1031, N.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES — A company appears to properly have purchased claims from medical providers, but it cannot show that the claims it pursues are covered by the purchase agreement, and it has not adequately pleaded its claims, a federal judge in California held Dec. 7 (Namdy Consulting Inc. v. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co., No. 18-1283, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 208890).
JACKSON, Tenn. — A trial court correctly concluded that individual issues predominate over a proposed class action challenging an insurer’s use of a $50 cap on reimbursement for nonemergency services provided in the emergency room, the majority of a Tennessee appeals court held Nov. 29 (Emergency Medical Care Facilities P.C. v. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc., et al. No. W2017-02211-COA-R3-CV, Tenn. App., 2018 Tenn. App. LEXIS 695).
TRENTON, N.J. — An out-of-network medical provider’s “unique” conspiracy suit involving 14 causes of action against 17 defendants does not invoke the right to payment under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and sufficiently alleges the existence of an independent legal duty, a federal judge in New Jersey held in remanding the action on Dec. 14 (North Jersey Brain & Spine Center v. MultiPlan Inc., et al., No. 17-5967, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 211272).