Appeal No. 117,903: EagleMed, LLC v. Travelers Insurance
Appeal No 117,903 oral argument
The Supreme Court reversed a Kansas Workers Compensation Appeals Board order requiring Travelers Insurance to pay in full for billings by air ambulance carrier EagleMed, LLC. EagleMed provided air ambulance services to injured workers whose employers carried workers compensation insurance through Travelers. The billing dispute revolves around a medical fee schedule enforced by the Kansas Division of Workers Compensation, which permits an air ambulance carrier to be reimbursed for its "usual and customary charges” according to the federal Airline Deregulation Act. That Act prevents states from enforcing laws relating to air carrier pricing. The Appeals Board determined the prohibition required it to order EagleMed's bills paid in full without examining the billings.
In an opinion written by Justice Dan Biles, the Court held the Appeals Board should have determined whether the charges were "usual and customary" before ordering payment. Justice Caleb Stegall dissented, joined by Senior Judge Patrick McAnany. Justice Stegall argued the "usual and customary" requirement could only be construed to conflict with the federal Act, and therefore could not be enforced.