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Trio of Washington Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuits Spurs Action

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Washington, DCSometimes it takes a Washington long term denied disability lawsuit in order to affect change. And there are two examples where litigation has succeeded in waking up insurers or federal regulators with regard to the very real needs of Americans, together with the need for fairness.

In July, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated guidelines aimed at prevention of discrimination suffered by pregnant women, new mothers and women of childbearing age at the hands of their employers. “Discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions is a prohibited form of sex discrimination,” the EEOC said in a statement published in The Washington Times (7/16/14).

A former lawsuit that centered on pregnant employees and their rights to employment is to be reviewed by the US Supreme Court in the wake of the new EEOC guidance. That case, Young v. United Parcel Service Inc., is expected to determine through the pending review’s outcome which employees are comparable to pregnant workers, and what specific treatment pregnant workers might be entitled to.

Washington Denied Disability Claims are akin to similar assertions made by claimants who hold their legitimate pursuit of long term disability has been denied through acts of bad faith on the part of insurers or their agents.

A Washington bad faith insurance lawsuit often follows. Such lawsuits, in the short term, are intended to achieve justice and compensation for the plaintiff. Long-term, it can have an overall impact on the industry and how insurers interact with and provide for their clients.

Cases in point were three class-action lawsuits against Premera Blue Cross with regard to Premera’s coverage of neurodevelopmental therapy for patients with autism. The lawsuits - one federal suit and two filed at the state level - alleged that Premera and a subsidiary - the Washington-based LifeWise Health Plan - excluded and limited the coverage for needed therapies.

Such limitation was alleged, in the litigation, as a violation of the Washington State Mental Health Parity Act.

Premera, in negotiations with the plaintiffs, agreed to a $3.5 million settlement. The proposed agreement for past therapy claims included $1.2 million for attorney’s fees and costs, together with the reimbursement of claimants for treatment. Any remaining funds would be donated to organizations with a mandate to assist those with developmental conditions acquire access to health care.

In May, plaintiffs in the lawsuits having experienced Washington Wrongly Denied Disability Claims lobbied a Washington federal court to grant preliminary approval to the settlement, which would also be binding on the two lawsuits in state court.

Moreover, Premera agreed to broaden its coverage. Thus, a win-win for plaintiffs as well as anyone with loved ones in need of neurodevelopmental therapy for autism.

And it all started with a Washington bad faith insurance lawsuit. The cases were: R.H. v. Premera Blue Cross et al., Case No. 2:13-cv-00097, in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington (federal), and A.G. v. Premera Blue Cross, Case No. 11-2-30233-4 SEA, and J.P. v. Premera Blue Cross, Case No. 12-2-33676-8 SEA, both in King County Superior Court (state).

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