ERISA – Punishing the Innocent

One of the worst things things that can happen to you is to be injured through no choice or fault of your own. If you think nothing could be worse than being smashed up by some drunken driver you are wrong.

There is something worse and it comes from a series of United States Supreme Court decisions concerning a law originally enacted to protect workers. In a perverse twist the court has turned the law into a hammer used to smash those who are injured when others break the rules we all live by.

Imagine you are hit by a drunk driver. The driver is on mandatory insurance for earlier troubles. The limit of the insurance is $25,000, the minimum. Let’s assume though that you are responsible and prudent. You have health insurance through your employment and you purchased $100,000 of under insured motorist (UIM) coverage for just this kind of disaster. The drunk runs a stop sign and smashes into your car breaking your leg and shoulder. You won’t be working for at least 6 months, if ever again. Your medical bills are mounting.

Now the bad news. Your health care plan has a provision excluding injuries caused by the fault of third parties. Your health insurance plan won’t pay a cent until medical bills exceed the coverage on the other driver’s car and the UIM coverage you bought and paid. What will you live on? According to the SCOTUS it is just fine to leave you with no compensation at all for your loss of income, pain, suffering, mental anguish or any other damage. The ERISA plan can take it all. Here is a link to some case studies of the horrible effects of this law.