BCBSAZ will be sued in the immediate future for charging copays for chiropractic care. The lawsuit will primarily be litigated by the law firm Hansen Reynolds Dickinson Crueger LLC from Milwaukee, WI, webpage http://hrdclaw.com/, in partnership with Arizona bad faith insurance lawyer Stephen Ryan, webpage http://www.stephencryanpc.com/, who is handling the individual bad faith insurance lawsuits. The Wisconsin law firm has been litigating the identical lawsuit in Wisconsin for over a year since the Wisconsin and Arizona chiropractic insurance laws are nearly identical. Here is an article from the Milwaukee Business Journal that explains the Wisconsin lawsuit that will be duplicated in Arizona.
CHIROPRACTIC FEES CHALLENGED
Milwaukee Business Journal
Corrinne Hess -- July 15, 2011
A group of Wisconsin women have filed a federal class action lawsuit against six major health insurers on behalf of all chiropractic patients in the state. The suit, filed in early July in U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin, alleges the insurance providers violated state law by requiring chiropractic patients to pay a co-payment for each visit, essentially covering the cost of their own care. Since 1987, Wisconsin has required insurance companies to cover chiropractic care.
Insurance companies have set up a system where they maintain that they cover chiropractic care, but at the same time require patients to pay a co-payment that represents all or a substantial portion of the chiropractor's charges for that visit, effectively excluding coverage by shifting the cost of the visit to the patient, said Erin Dickinson, an attorney with Hansen Riederer Dickinson Crueger LLC, Milwaukee, which is representing the plaintiffs.
"This case is a really big deal for patients," Dickinson said. "A lot of people are loyal to their chiropractor because they don't want to do surgery." The class action complaint contends the insurance companies have been raising the co-payments for chiropractic patients, while either reducing or holding the amount they allow chiropractors to charge for their services.
UnitedHealthcare, Wisconsin Physicians Services Insurance Corp. (WPS), Humana, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Wisconsin, Network Health Plan and Compcare Health Services were named as defendants in the lawsuit. When contacted by The Business Journal, representatives from the insurance companies declined to comment on the suit.
Chuck Crueger, another attorney for the plaintiffs, said patients began filing complaints with the state Office of the Commissioner of Insurance several years ago about the charges for chiropractic care, but nothing came of it. Jim Guidry, a spokesman for the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, said the office received several complaints from chiropractors and their patients and each was evaluated and handled on an individual basis.
Stay tuned for fireworks and dropping or disappearing copays, brought to you by ACS!