Reed v. Sossong, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66064 (W.D. Pa. April 8, 2022) (Haines, U.S. D.J.) Plaintiffs assert that as a direct and proximate result of the Defendants’ conduct, Daniel Reed “was forced to expend large sums of monies for doctors, hospitals, and other items necessary for proper care and treatment”. Defendants move for partial summary judgment to preclude Plaintiffs from recovering damages in the form of a recoverable lien for past medical expenses paid by a private insurer, Highmark Delaware. Defendants contend that Plaintiffs have failed to show that the plan in question was a self-funded plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which would exempt the plan from the requirements of the Pennsylvania Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act (“MCARE”). Instead, Defendants argue that because the plan was insured, the provisions of the MCARE Act apply, precluding as a matter of law the recovery of damages for past medical expenses to the extent those expenses were covered by the insurer. In response, Plaintiffs argue that the plan in question is an HMO, which is exempt from the provisions of the MCARE Act. Alternatively, Plaintiffs argue that they qualify for one of the statutory enumerated exceptions set forth in the MCARE Act because there is “some evidence” that the plan in question “may be covered by ERISA.” Upon careful consideration of the parties’ papers, the argument by both sides at oral argument, and a review of the relevant statutes and case law, the Court finds that the MCARE Act does apply in this case, that it is not preempted by ERISA, and that none of the statutory exceptions apply. Accordingly, Defendants are entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law on the issue raised in their motion.
Here, Pennsylvania law precludes a claimant from recovering damages for past medical expenses incurred to the time of trial to the extent that the loss is covered by a benefit that the claimant has received prior to trial, unless the statute is preempted by ERISA, or unless the claimant can show that the plan otherwise is exempt from the MCARE Act, or one of the four statutory exceptions applies. Here, Plaintiffs have produced no evidence that the plan at issue was a self-funded health care plan exempt from the collateral source and anti-subrogation provisions of the MCARE Act under the ERISA deemer clause. Nor has Plaintiff shown that the plan is an HMO, which might render it exempt from the MCARE Act under the Pennsylvania HMO Act. Finally, Plaintiffs have failed to show that any of the exceptions to the collateral source and anti-subrogation provisions enumerated in the MCARE Act apply. Accordingly, because Plaintiffs are precluded as a matter of law from recovering damages related to past medical expenses paid by a private insurer prior to trial under the MCARE Act, Defendants are entitled to partial summary judgment on this issue. An appropriate order follows.