Health Insurance Liens Go Before the U.S. Supreme Court
July 6, 2012
A case with wide reaching ramifications for victims of personal injury will shortly be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. It is expected that a ruling on this case will be delivered in the Court’s next term which starts in October of 2012. The case is US Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen, 663 F. 3d 671 (2011). The bottom line is that a decision in this matter could potentially prove beneficial to victims of personal injury in Georgia because it may force certain health insurers to reduce the amount that they are owed from a personal injury victim. Here is how it works. If you have been injured and your medical bills are paid by private health insurance that is governed by ERISA, then the health insurance carrier will make a claim that they are entitled to be paid back for whatever medical expenses they paid on your behalf that were caused by someone else. This holds true regardless of the amount for which your case settles or the amount of the jury award. By way of example, let’s say that your health insurance company paid out $30,000.00 on your behalf for medical treatment and the health insurance demands that they be paid back in full. Let’s also assume that there is only $25,000.00 worth of insurance coverage to cover your loss. In this scenario, the health insurance carrier would take the entire $25,000.00 and you would receive NOTHING! Hardly seems fair since you were the one that was injured. Well, that is essentially what happened to Mr. McCutchen in the US Airways, Inc v. McCutchen case.
his health insurer is claiming that they are entitled to over $66,000 for medical treatment that they paid on his behalf. If the full amount of the health insurance lien is paid, Mr. McCutchen would not receive a penny for all that he has been through. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals realized that this was not fair to Mr. McCutchen and basically said that the health insurer should be required to reduce their lien so that Mr. McCutchen can receive something for all that he has been through. This is the right decision by the Third Circuit and we are hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court will agree. As an Personal Injury Lawyer, we are aggressive in making sure that every penny that is rightfully yours makes it into your hands. We have had great success in dealing with these health insurance liens. If you have been injured and are faced with a health insurance lien, don’t let the health insurance company bully you, please call an experienced Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney at our firm today.