Salzer v. SSM Health Care of Oklahoma, No. 13-6099 (10th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff-appellant Richard Salzer received medical care at an SSM Healthcare of Oklahoma (SSM) facility for injuries he sustained in an accident. At the time of his treatment, he had a health insurance plan (the "Plan"). Salzer entered into a contract with SSM to receive its services (the "Hospital Services Agreement"), under which he "authorized disclosure of [his] medical information for billing purposes and authorized [his] health insurance company to pay." SSM had an existing contract with Salzer's health insurance company (the "Provider Agreement") which required SSM to submit covered medical charges to Salzer's insurance company and accept discounted payment from the insurer. Although the Provider Agreement prohibited SSM from seeking payment for a covered charge from Salzer, SSM sought the non-discounted amount directly from him. Salzer sued SSM alleging breach of contract and other state law claims based on SSM's attempt to collect payment for medical care from Salzer instead of his health insurance company. SSM removed the case to federal district court. Salzer challenged the district court's denial of his motion to remand based on its determination that his claims were completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Finding no reversible error, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court.