Larson v. United Healthcare Ins. Co., No. 12-1256 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, insured under employer health plans, filed a proposed class action alleging that health-insurance companies violated Wisconsin law by requiring copayments for chiropractic care. The insurance code prohibits insurers from excluding coverage for chiropractic services if their policies cover the diagnosis and treatment of the same condition by a physician or osteopath. The policies at issue provide chiropractic coverage, although, like other services, it is subject to copayment requirements. The complaint cited provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act for recovery of benefits due, 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(1)(B) & 502(a)(3), and for breach of fiduciary duty, sections 1132(a)(3), 1104. The district court dismissed. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Nothing in ERISA categorically precludes a benefits claim against an insurance company. The complaint alleges that the insurers decide all claims questions and owe the benefits; on these allegations the insurers are proper defendants on the 1132(a)(1)(B) claim. The complaint nonetheless fails to state a claim for breach of fiduciary duty; setting policy terms, including copayments, determines the content of the policy, and decisions about the content of a plan are not themselves fiduciary acts.