United Behavioral Health v. Maricopa Integrated Health Sys.Annotate this Case
Medicare Part C, 42 U.S.C. 1395w-21 et seq., permits enrollees to obtain Medicare-covered healthcare services from private healthcare organizations and their third-party contractors. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., regulates health plans offered by private employers to employees. At issue is whether continued inpatient treatment by Providers was medically necessary, and therefore compensable, for several MA Plan Members and ERISA Plan Members initially hospitalized for mental health evaluations or treatment. The court held that the administrative appeals process provided under the Medicare Act preempts arbitration of Medicare-related coverage disputes between private healthcare administrators and providers, even though arbitration would otherwise be required by the parties’ contracts and the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 1 et seq. In this case, Providers’ coverage claims are inextricably intertwined with claims for Medicare benefits, and they therefore are subject to the Medicare Act. The Act provides mandatory administrative review procedures for these disputes, which preempt arbitration. The court concluded, however, that the court of appeals erred by deciding that whether Aurora’s ERISA-related claims are arbitrable depends on whether Aurora has standing to assert this claim. The court of appeals should decide on remand whether this claim is arbitrable without considering the standing issue or whether any valid defenses to the claim exist. Therefore, the court remanded to the court of appeals to decide whether ERISA similarly preempts arbitration of ERISA-related coverage disputes.