Personal Injury Provision Would Benefit Insurers
A provision included in a pension bill under consideration in a House-Senate conference committee could expand the ability of health insurers to obtain shares of settlements and judgments that employees receive in personal injury lawsuits, the Wall Street Journal reports. Most health insurers reserve the right to obtain shares of settlements and judgments that employees receive in personal injury lawsuits to recover the cost of their medical care, but many state laws and some federal courts limit their ability to take such action.
Supporters say the provision, which appears in the House but not in the Senate version of the legislation, would allow health insurers to recover funds to which they are entitled and would benefit all employees through lower overall health insurance costs. However, opponents, such as employee and consumer advocates and plaintiff attorneys, say that the provision would reduce protections for workers and could leave some employees without any of the funds they receive from settlements and judgments in personal injury lawsuits.
According to the Journal, "If it becomes law the proposed language on recovery by insurers is likely to escalate disputes between health plans and injured employees who haven't been fully compensated by a judgment or settlement" (Francis, Wall Street Journal, 6/8).