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High court to decide whether health plans can recoup benefits

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in Employment Law,Human Resources,Maternity Leave Laws

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether health plans can sue to recover benefits from a person who also collects from another source.

In the case, an insurance company paid more than $400,000 in medical benefits for a woman injured in an accident. But it recouped only about $13,800 from a $650,000 settlement she later received. (Great-West Life & Annuity Ins. Co. v. Knudson, No. 99-1786)

In a separate ruling, the Supreme Court refused a case concerning how a pregnancy leave policy created before the enactment of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act affects benefits today. In the case, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals let the company use its pre-1979 pregnancy policy to calculate benefits in 2000. (Communications Workers of America v. Ameritech Benefit Plan Committee, 00-864)

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, however, has said that pregnancy should be treated the same as other temporary disabilities when calculating seniority.

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