Montana University System Class Action Update

The Montana University System (MUS) has agreed to pay the medical expenses for employees who were previously denied health insurance benefits in a class action settlement decided in March 2017. Gallatin County District Court certified that the MUS will pay 100 percent of the medical expenses that were not paid in full by the MUS Employee Group Benefit Plan for injuries between October 5, 2001, and December 31, 2016, in addition to 10 percent interest.

Case Background

The class action claims the Montana University System failed to pay certain medical expenses that were due to claimants under the health insurance plan. According to the original complaint, the MUS generally refused to provide health insurance benefits when medical expenses could be paid through a third party, such as another insurance company. This was due to an exclusion in the MUS health insurance policy that said it would not pay benefits if other insurance was available, which violated state law, said Hillary Carls, partner at the firm Angel, Coil and Bartlett, who is representing the class.

The original complaint was filed by Whitney Gendron, then an employee of Montana State University, who was injured after an accident where she was rear ended. Her medical bills were partially covered by the other party’s automobile insurance, and Gendron’s auto insurance paid out an additional amount. However, Gendron still owed $24,923 in medical costs, which she requested from her MUS health insurance under Montana’s “made whole” laws. When the MUS denied payment of medical costs under a ‘coordination of benefits’ exclusion, the “systematic and programmatic violations by the university system were found to be ‘subject to resolution through a class action lawsuit.’”

What’s Next for Claimants?

While there is not yet a known dollar amount owed to plaintiffs, people are submitting claims ranging from a couple hundred dollars to $120,000 that had previously gone unpaid due to the insurance policy exclusion, said Carls.

As a condition of the settlement, the MUS has revised its policy and removed the exclusion.

A hearing is scheduled on December 5, 2017. In the meantime, a process is underway to identify others who worked for the university system from Oct. 5, 2001, to Dec. 31, 2016, who may be owed money as a result of the settlement. If you believe you are owed money, review the criteria and contact Carls at hillary@angelcoilbartlett.com. You have until April 2018 to submit a claim form.

Key Dates for the Class Action:

  • July 12, 2017: Last day to request that the Court exclude you from the class action lawsuit via written request.
  • October 15, 2017: Last day for plaintiffs to object to the award of attorney fees and costs via a written request to the Court.
  • December 5, 2017: Final Fairness Hearing.
  • April 13, 2018: Deadline for plaintiffs to complete submit the claims form.

Resources for Plaintiffs

Pre-Settlement Funding on Your Montana System Class Action Award

If you are a claimant involved in the Montana University System Class Action litigation, Thrivest Funding can help your cash flow situation by providing you with a pre-settlement advance on your award.

Lawsuits often take years to settle, which is a long time to wait for an award that could cover lost wages, daily living expenses, or outstanding medical bills. Pre-settlement funding can help you get by during your ongoing litigation by reducing financial stress so that you can focus on restoring your life to its normal state.

In addition to offering plaintiff funding, Thrivest also offers law firm funding solutions so attorneys can have accelerated access to their anticipated settlement money or contingency fees.

How does it work? Thrivest will pay you money now in return for the guarantee of repayment in the future if and when your case is successfully settled or you receive a judgment. If your case is not settled or you do not receive a judgment, you will not owe us a dime. This is a huge benefit of non-recourse funding.

To learn more about our plaintiff funding and attorney financing solutions, call one of our friendly legal funding specialists at 267-457-4540 or complete our quick form application online HERE.