Dec. 12, 2002 – A total of 3,491 retired local government workers who joined a class-action suit against Blue Cross-Blue Shield Insurance Co. can expect to get settlement checks, according to attorney Maria Tankenson Hodge.
There's $3.4 million in the settlement pie, but how much each person will get hasn't been decided yet, Hodge, who represented the retirees, said. "Some people will get more because they had substantial doctors' bills," she explained, while those with smaller bills will receive a pro-rated portion of the money.
She said the lawsuit settlement, agreed upon Monday, still needs a Territorial Court hearing and approval before it becomes final. No date has been set for the hearing, she said.
The suit centered on Blue Cross-Blue Shield's refusal to pay doctor bills for retirees who did not buy the Medicare Part B plan. While standard Medicare, called Part A, is free, retirees must pay $600 a year for the Part B coverage, which helps pay doctor bills. Hodge said the insurance plan did not require retirees to sign up for the optional insurance, but that retirees who had Part B also are covered in the suit.
The suit covers claims filed between Jan. 1, 1998, and Sept. 30, 2001.
A release issued by the law firm of Hodge & Francois said that while Blue Cross/Blue Shield did not admit to any wrongdoing, it will pay legal fees as well as the cost of administering the claim.
People who are eligible for settlement checks have two options:
– The can wait for a letter from Blue Cross/Blue Shield explaining the settlement in more detail, and for a check for their share of the settlement which will follow.
– They can submit claims, with copies of their medical bills and receipts, seeking reimbursement for their actual doctors' bills.
Heirs of named plaintiffs in the class-action suit who have since died also can collect a portion of the settlement.
The suit was filed in the names of Lawrence Hodge, Gloria Davis and Gerald Hodge Sr.
For more information, call Hodge & Francois at 774-6845.
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