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Client Focused. Court Room Ready.

Kantor & Kantor, LLP Lawyers Win Trial Victory

For Client Fighting Employer's Self-Funded Health Plan

Kantor & Kantor, LLP lawyers won an important trial court decision recently on behalf of our client whose employer's self-funded health plan denied medical benefits for her son. The court determined that the plan administrator had abused her discretion and violated our client's statutory rights in refusing benefits for her son's medical expenses. The court instructed the plan to process the claims in accordance with plan terms.

Martinez v. The Beverly Hills Hotels and Bungalows Employee Benefit Trust Employee Welfare Plan

Ana Martinez is employed by Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows and is a covered participant in Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows' ("BHH") self-funded employee benefits plan, which refused to cover medical and nursing care for her son in a "persistent vegetative state" from injuries incurred while he was at school. His care averages $13,000 a month. A special needs trust was created following a settlement with the school.

BHH's employee benefits plan was previously funded through an insurance policy with Blue Cross. Blue Cross paid for medical care for Ana's son and never sought reimbursement from the special needs trust.

BHH ended its contract with Blue Cross and went self-funded on Jan. 1, 2008. Immediately upon becoming self-funded, the plan requested that Ana sign a "Right to Reimbursement" agreement that would permit the plan to seek reimbursement for any of her son's care from his special needs trust. BHH refused to even "process" any of Steve's claims without the reimbursement agreement signed. The court found no basis for the plan's request that Ana sign the reimbursement agreement before the plan would process medical claims.

In addition, when BHH went self-funded, the plan asserted for the first time subrogation rights. The plan alleged that the special needs trust must pay for the medical care and only when the trust funds were depleted would the plan agree to provide medical benefits. The court found that the plan's language was clear: the hotel was not entitled to subrogation rights from special needs trusts.

The court also found that the plan had a conflict of interest in that the administrator responsible for the plan finances was also the responsible for making benefit determinations. At trial, the plan administrator testified that "she put the plans interests ahead of the participants' interests," a violation of ERISA law. Plan administrators are charged with a standard of care that mandates discharge of their duties solely in the interests of plan beneficiaries.

This lawsuit is only one example of the ways benefits plans attempt to deny coverage for legitimate claims. As health insurance premiums rise, more and more employers are self-funding plans with provisions that could interrupt your benefits under previous plans or deny ongoing coverage.

If you are involved in a disability benefits dispute with your employer's self-funded plan, we can help. Contact us today. 

What Sets Us Apart?

  • Free Case Consultations Provided
  • 160+ Years' Collective Experience
  • Thousands Of Cases Successfully Handled
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Client Testimonials

  • Your compassion for me and my situation is very much appreciated.

    “My thanks to you for pursuing my case with vigor. I don't know much about how these legal things are handled, but I could tell by your communications with me, making sure I was always informed, that you were on top of it all. Also, you were ALWAYS available to me to answer questions, and your compassion for me and my situation is very much appreciated. I have had limited exposure to the legal system and attorneys, but I have never been able to just call and talk to them, as I could with you. I always had to speak with someone in the office that couldn't really answer my questions.”

    D.B.

  • Thank you for all of your hard work, support and belief in our case.

    “Hi Elizabeth - You have been such an important part of my and Jennifer's past year, and I want to send you a note to wish you a wonderful holiday. Thank you for all of your hard work, support and belief in our case. Thank you seems like two small words and not enough, but they are heartfelt and mean so much.”

    J.H.

  • We will never forget the good you have done and may you continue to earn gold stars.

    “More than your skilled expertise, uncompromising professionalism and breadth of experience, we have been immensely impressed with the sincerity, generosity and integrity with which you conducted our affairs, acted on our behalf and guided us through the sometimes confusing process. Throughout, we developed a great respect for all of you and it is our wish that both collectively and individually, you experience continued professional success and personal gratification in all that you pursue. We will never forget the good you have done and may you continue to earn gold stars.”

    Lalida C.

  • Thank God for Kantor & Kantor.

    “Thank God for Kantor & Kantor and Denise Anderson. I appreciate everything you do!”

    Stephen Schaffer

  • First of all, I want to express my extreme gratitude for probably saving my daughter's life.

    “First of all, I want to express my extreme gratitude for probably saving my daughter's life. By staying in treatment, the improvement is remarkable. She had been in eating disorder facilities many times, and treatment had been interrupted repeatedly by Anthem Blue Cross's denying benefits. Many of the health professionals were telling me that maybe my daughter was a hopeless case. You both gave me hope. She is still struggling with some residual issues around eating, but the change in her attitude, her ability to assess her own recovery, and her wish to live instead of to die, is evident in her life. Now she is back in school, after years of having her education disrupted by the eating disorder. She goes places with friends, and even goes out to restaurants for fun! This year marked the first holiday season for many years, when she had not been in a treatment facility. Other people gave up and you didn't. I can't thank you enough. You took the action that was necessary to keep my daughter in treatment long enough for it to work.”

    Anonymous