Top court could nullify 'Any Willing Provider’ law

Sunday, March 16, 2003

March 17, 2003

WASHINGTON - The constitutionality of Any Willing Provider laws is currently undergoing the ultimate litmus test: The United States Supreme Court.

After hearing oral arguments in January, the nation’s high court is expected to rule on the AWP bellwether case Kentucky Association of Health Plans v. Miller by July. If justices rules in favor of the plaintiff, HME providers across the country could instantly be shut out of managed care contracts. It would ostensibly cancel AWP laws on the books in 25 states – an effort that state HME associations helped spearhead in the mid-1990s.

The Kentucky Association of Health Plans is challenging a 1994 Kentucky AWP law through a lawsuit that names Janie Miller, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Insurance as defendant. In the action, the health plan association argues that AWP violates the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by illegally “regulating insurance.”

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case after two lower courts sided with the defendant.

For more on this story, see the April issue of HME News.