Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 206300; Unpublished
Judges Hood, Holbrook, Jr., and Whitbeck; Unanimous; Per Curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion
Coordination with Other Health and Accident Medical Insurance [§3109a]
Coordination with ERISA Plans [§3109a]
One-Year Back Rule Limitation [§3145(1)]
Applicability of Limitations Period to Claims by Insurers Against Other Insurers [§3145]
In this unanimous per curiam unpublished Opinion, the Court of Appeals held that the one (1) year statute of limitation contained in section 3145 of the No-Fault Act applies to a claim by an ERISA health insurer as subrogee of a beneficiary under the plan to recover medical expenses the health insurer paid for automobile accident related injuries.
American Medical's subrogor was injured in an automobile accident and incurred medical expenses. She was a participant in her employer's ERISA health care plan administered by plaintiff, American Medical. At the same time, she was also insured by a policy of no-fault automobile insurance issued by Allstate. Medical expenses were paid under the health insurance policy, and American Medical then filed action to recover those paid medical expenses.
Allstate moved for summary disposition, arguing that the statute of limitations under section 3145 imposing a one year statute of limitations on such claims had expired, barring American Medical's claim under the Michigan no-fault statute. In response to American Medical's claim that the provisions of the federal ERISA statute preempted Michigan law, the Court of Appeals held that American Medical had no greater rights than its subrogor, and therefore, since the subrogor would have been subject to a one year statute of limitations on her claim for payment of no-fault benefits, American Medical has no greater rights and is subject to that same statute of limitations. When a plaintiff is contractually subrogated to the rights of its insured, the plaintiff’s insurer's subrogation action is ordinarily barred by the statute of limitations if the insured's action would be so barred.
The court distinguished cases relied upon by American Medical in support of the contention that a six (6) year statute of limitations should apply. The court pointed out that all of those cases involved no-fault carriers seeking payment from medical insurers, in which case longer statutes would apply since the one year statute of limitations in the No-Fault Act did not apply to cases against the health insurers.