The U.S. Supreme Court will review a case that involves a question about whether the U.S. Department of Labor created an employee’s health coverage headaches or a health carrier erred.
The court has granted certiorari to Health Care Service Corp. vs. Juli A. Pollitt et al., a case involving the “federal preemption” provision of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act.
FEHBA normally blocks efforts by states to oversee federal employees’ health benefits, but a 3-judge panel at the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled earlier this year that, as a result of earlier Supreme Court rulings, “federal law does not completely occupy the field of health-insurance coverage for federal workers.”
The Labor Department may have paid Health Care Service Corp., Chicago, only for family coverage for Juli Pollitt, a federal employee, even though she had asked for family coverage, according to court pleadings.
In July 2007, when Health Care Service, the parent of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, found that Pollitt seemed to have only individual coverage, it stopped paying for care for her son and tried to get back all payments made to his providers since 2003.
The company started paying claims again in October 2007, but Pollitt says it did not tell providers of the change.