Last week the Supreme Court of the United States issued its opinion in the ERISA Subrogation case US Airways vs. McCutcheon. The case was about the victim of an auto collision that recovered money from the at-fault driver that hit him. The victim’s health plan paid for the medical treatment necessary to treat the injuries caused by the collision, but when everyone found out the at-fault driver didn’t carry enough insurance to cover the medical bills, the health plan used the fine print of the health plan contract to take every penny away from the victim.
The only reason this is allowed to happen, is because federal law controls health plans that are funded by employers. That means if you are the victim of an auto collision, and the health plan you get from your employer pays for the medical bills, your employer get paid back no matter what – no matter if the person that injures you has enough insurance or not.
This case gave the Supreme Court the chance to change that – to make it the way the states handle these claims – fairly. States ensure that victims are taken care of before their health insurers are paid back, which makes sense when the victim is the one that suffered the loss.
It’s unfortunate that the High Court lost this chance to correct an injustice, but we hope that this issue is looked at again and corrected in the future.