Court Rules that Suit Against Empire Blue Cross Seeking Coverage for ABA Therapy May Proceed

DETROIT, July 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A federal judge in Detroit has refused to dismiss part of a class action lawsuit filed against Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. The lawsuit, which was brought by parents of autistic children, claims that Empire Blue Cross (in New York) has a policy of denying insurance coverage for a form of autism treatment known as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. The plaintiffs seek a court order requiring Empire Blue Cross to cover the therapy and to pay the benefits of claimants who were previously denied coverage. See Lorigan v Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, No. 1014842 (E.D. Michigan).

According to the lawsuit, ABA is a well recognized and scientifically valid form of autism treatment for children. Numerous authorities and organizations have supported using ABA to treat autism, including the U.S. Surgeon General, the National Institute of Mental Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and a comprehensive report commissioned by the United States Medicare and Medicaid system. In addition, 26 states mandate insurance coverage for ABA-type autism treatments.

The plaintiffs are represented by Gerard Mantese and John Conway. Mantese and Conway are counsel in several cases seeking insurance coverage for ABA therapy. In 2010, Mantese and Conway obtained final approval of a class action against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan requiring payment of approximately $1 million in claims for ABA therapy. They are also currently counsel for military beneficiaries seeking coverage of ABA from the military's Tricare insurer. In March, 2011, a federal court in Washington D.C. granted class action status to thousands of military beneficiaries in that case.

Contact information for the families' attorneys follows:

Gerard Mantese, Esq.
Mantese Honigman Rossman and Williamson, P.C.
1361 E. Big Beaver Road
Troy, Michigan 48083
248-457-9200 Office
248-515-6419 Cell

John J. Conway, Esq.
John J. Conway, P.C.
26622 Woodward Avenue, Suite 225
Royal Oak, MI 48067
313-961-6525 Office
313-574-2148 Cell

SOURCE Mantese Honigman Rossman and Williamson, P.C.