The “Confessions of an Insurance Subrogation Attorney” is online in a November 22, 2013 article by Jeffrey Baill. It’s an excellent article for those who do not see or understand the role of subrogation claims in the litigation industry.
Subrogation claims and liens of various kinds continue to assert a growing influence on mass tort litigation. In a new example, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts hired Thornton & Naumes to file subrogation lawsuits against Takeda and Eli Lilly entities to recover expenses arising from the bladder cancers developed by 32 BSBS policyholders after taking Actos for diabetes. A complaint is online.
BCBS filed its claims in Louisiana in the multidistrict litigation over the drug Actos. The lawsuits follow Takeda being hit in the MDL with a $9 billion verdict, and a federal judge imposed sanctions against Takeda for destruction of digital files of key executives.
A take away? Asbestos and other mass tort defendants need to recognize subrogation claims and medical expense liens as additional drivers of litigation and expense. It appears BCBS and other health insurers have decided to ignore the US Chamber of Commerce’s memes regarding the evils of lawsuits, at least when the BCBS plans may recover money. See here regarding Aetna and Garlock, and see here regarding the HK Porter Trust and potential claims by various insurers.
The Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 is prompting lots of concern among tort litigants. The gist is that many but not all parties expecting to pay a tort settlement – to a person eligible for Medicare – must register with the federal government and then report payments to the federal government effective as of July 1, 2009. The point of course is to let the government seek to obtain reimbursement for its expenses to delay the day when Medicare becomes insolvent.
Guidance on compliance is out there. For example, the basic rules are spelled out in a short online article by defense lawyer Keith Whitson and others at Schnader Harrison, and other more detailed online articles also are avaible here . On the plaintiff’s side, bar groups are advertising seminars to educate plaintiff’s lawyers about the rules. Some deep background from Matt Garretson to plaintiff lawyers is available here, but is useful for anyone.