KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

HMOs Settle in Texas ADA Case

Humana Health Plans of Texas and PacifiCare of Texas have reached an out-of-court settlement with the Texas Medical Association in a lawsuit that charged the two HMOs had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by "denying access to treatment" for people with chronic illnesses, the Wall Street Journal reports. The suit marked the first time the federal statute had been used in a case against an HMO to "contest decisions" regarding treatment. (Geyelin, Wall Street Journal, 11/28). The Texas Medical Association, with the help of a civil rights attorney who is disabled, in January filed the suit alleging that the plans dropped doctors from contracts after "running up big bills" while treating chronically ill patients (American Health Line, 1/27). The size of the settlement was not disclosed, and Humana released a statement that said settlement "is in no way an admission of liability." Instead, the HMO said the decision to settle was based on the "uncertainty of protracted litigation" (Geyelin, Wall Street Journal, 11/28). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.