Supreme Court to Hear ERISA Overpayment Case
The United States Supreme Court recently agreed to hear another ERISA case, this one dealing with the ability of a plan fiduciary to recover an overpayment.
An analysis by Mayer Brown, LLP notes that in the case, a beneficiary of an ERISA-governed health insurance plan received a benefit payment of more than $100,000 for injuries stemming from an automobile accident. After the beneficiary recovered an even greater amount in a lawsuit against another driver, the plan fiduciary sued to recover the benefit payment, invoking a plan provision requiring reimbursement of “any amounts received from another party.”
This issue is of importance to employers that administer employee benefit plans governed by ERISA, and particularly those with ERISA-governed health insurance plans, which Mayer Brown notes are most often confronted with the need to recover overpayments.
In fact, no fewer than six federal courts of appeals have taken that view, while two courts have held that an equitable lien is unavailable unless the funds can be specifically identified at the time of the suit — setting up the conflict that the Supreme Court will now seek to resolve.
Mayer Brown explains that, absent extensions, which are likely, amicus briefs in support of the petitioner will be due on May 21, 2015; those in support of the respondent will be due on June 22, 2015.