An unhealthy decision?
Patients' choices in medical care take a hit after high court rules in favor of insurers
By Henry Gilgoff
July 18, 2004
The country's highest court delivered a major setback last month to patients trying to sue health insurers for negligence or malpractice, leaving a widow to wonder: What now?
The U.S. Supreme Court's decision gave added ammunition to health plans to argue that federal law precludes patients and their families from suing health plans for damages in state courts. The Employment Retirement Security Act of 1974 allows suits in federal court for benefits denied -- small amounts compared with the high awards possible for malpractice or negligence.