In many of our firm’s medical malpractice cases the patient’s medical bills were paid by health insurance provided by the patient’s (our client’s) employer. The insurance coverage is provided as part of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) benefit package. ERISA is a federal law enacted by Congress in 1974.
The problem with health insurance benefits provided through ERISA is that the insurance carrier often has a lien for every dollar in medical care it has paid on behalf of the employee. What does this mean? Well, after paying thousand of dollars for expert witnesses and dealing with the emotional stress involved in the prosecution of a medical malpractice case and winning the case….the health insurer sticks out its greedy hand and requires that it be reimbursed for the medical bills it paid! Is this what medical insurance was designed to accomplish – I don’t think so.
ERISA liens are unfair and can really work an injustice to successful medical malpractice plaintiffs. Watch this video for a case in point.