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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. 

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

  • You've helped to remove a great burden from our lives. It's nice to know there are decent people still in the world.

    “Thank you for your kind efforts. You've helped to remove a great burden from our lives. It's nice to know there are decent people still in the world.”

    B.

  • I am so grateful for all your efforts and I'm sure glad you were on my side fighting for me.

    “Dear Alan - I just wanted to send you a special note of thanks for all your hard work on behalf of me and my case. I am so grateful for all your efforts and I'm sure glad you were on my side fighting for me.”

    Tracy R.

  • Your kindness will never be forgotten.

    “Dear Glenn, Several weeks ago, you graciously met with my husband and me and provided us with invaluable advice vis a vis his application for Long Term Disability and the Voluntary Transition Plan offered by his employer. Your calming presence and thoughtful guidance was so gratefully appreciated and we both felt much lighter as we left your office. We are pleased to advise you that David's application for LTD was approved the day after we met with you (sigh of relief)! Had it not been, we knew when were we would go for representation. We both want to thank you for your thoughtfulness and generosity of spirit. Your kindness will never be forgotten. With Warmest Regards, Lori and David C.”

    Lori & David

  • You are the light in the darkness for all of us.

    “Lisa- You are the light in the darkness for all of us in the eating disorder community. I believe that you were born to take on these challenges.”

    Pam S.

  • I won the appeal.

    “Hi Glenn- This is a very belated thank you for your generous assistance and advice last summer, when I was appealing UBH's decision for my son. I won the appeal, at least for care at the partial hospitalization level (they wouldn't budge on residential, but the facility was accepting the partial care reimbursement for residential treatment). But the appeal was a great moral victory, and I think it's a great thing to have in the record, just in case he needs to go for treatment again. Thanks again for your generous help, I was very grateful for it. Wishing you a most happy Thanksgiving.”

    Terry S.