The United States Supreme Court recently denied certiorari in a Fifth Circuit case, United Healthcare Insurance Co. v. Access Mediquip LLC, that allowed a health care provider to pursue state law misrepresentation claims against an ERISA-governed health insurance plan.
The provider, a medical device company, alleged that it supplied devices to patients based on representations from the ERISA plan that it would reimburse reasonable charges for the devices and related services.
The District Court ruled that ERISA preempted the state law misrepresentation claims. The Fifth Circuit reversed, holding that the state law claims could go forward because the alleged misrepresentations were based on promises of reimbursement, rather than the terms of the ERISA plan. That ruling drew a distinction between plan beneficiaries and healthcare providers with respect to reimbursement representations – ERISA preempted the former but not the latter.