P.E.L. v. Premera Blue Cross (Majority)Annotate this Case
In this case, the plaintiffs, a minor and her parents, sued their health insurer, Premera Blue Cross, for denying coverage for the minor’s stay in a wilderness therapy program, claiming that the denial violates mental health parity laws. The plaintiffs also alleged breach of contract, insurance bad faith, and violation of the Consumer Protection Act.
The Supreme Court of the State of Washington held that the plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim based on alleged violation of federal parity laws does not form a viable common law action. The Court found that the plaintiffs failed to show that a violation of federal parity law would give rise to a viable common law action for breach of contract.
Furthermore, the Court held that the breach of contract action based on Premera's alleged violation of state parity laws could not succeed based on the statutory language that was in place at the time.
However, the Court did affirm the lower court’s finding that the plaintiffs were not required to produce evidence of objective symptomatology to support their insurance bad faith claim for emotional distress damages. Consequently, the case was remanded to the trial court for further proceedings on the bad faith and Consumer Protection Act claims.