Parler Share
Sports

Lawsuit Alleges NFL Told Insurers To Deny Retired Players' Claims – Report

Parler Share

In the ongoing controversy over the NFL’s treatment of its retired players, a bombshell lawsuit dropped in U.S. District Court in Illinois that alleges the league told its insurance company to deny player claims for long-term disability care, Law360.com reported Thursday.

The Sporting News provided a summary of the paywalled content.

In it, the clinic Advanced Physicians S.C. alleges that the NFL has instructed insurer Cigna to deny claims originating from the clinic for former players.

Per the suit, Advanced Physicians has been treating retired players for the after-effects of injuries sustained on the field since 2007, but starting in 2015, Cigna singled out the clinic for audits.

The insurer, which holds the account on the NFL Retired Player Plan, allegedly colluded with the league to deny players a chance to be party to the $1 billion settlement reached in 2016 from a class-action lawsuit, which involved concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy that followed repeated head trauma the NFL knew about and covered up.

Trending:
WH Press Corps Revolts Against Press Sec, Demands Answers on Why Biden Looked for Dead Congresswoman

Under the collective bargaining agreement, retired players with enough accumulated service time are kept on the insurance plan for five years following the end of their playing careers. The benefits of such insurance also extend to the players’ families in a fairly standard case for employer-provided insurance in any profession.

The clinic accused the NFL of specifically preventing necessary care to determine a player’s eligibility for the class-action settlement. “Because the NFL doesn’t want to pay its former players disability payments under the disability plan … it decided to retaliate against Advanced for providing diagnostic services to former players,” the lawsuit states.

Continuing the accusation, the lawsuit said, “The NFL does not want independent medical providers like Advanced to treat players and provide independent and honest medical opinions about a player’s brain health. The NFL made the decision to try and economically harm Advanced so that Advanced would no longer treat former NFL players and their dependents.”

Rumors are nearly constant about a work stoppage when the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement with its players’ union expires after the 2020 season, and the perception that the league is failing to act in good faith on terms it has agreed to threaten to cast a dark cloud over negotiations that could lead to missed games in the 2021 season and possibly beyond.

Do you believe the allegations against the NFL?

But from the point of view of Advanced, having its revenue stream cut off has led to a lot of lost revenue, much of it for services rendered and then subsequently denied for reasons that could be construed by courts as breach of contract.

The suit was originally filed in Illinois state court, but the NFL requested a change of venue to federal court on the grounds that federal laws — the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the Labor Management Relations Act, the latter a function of unions being involved — supersede state laws and jurisdictions.

The NFL has had a relentless public relations battle over retired-player disability issues, and this is just the latest such instance of lawyers blitzing in to try to sack the league office.

The concussion controversy, besides the multi-million-dollar settlement, was the subject of a Hollywood movie with Will Smith, 2015’s “Concussion,” which brought the issue front and center in the public consciousness.

The retired-player disability controversy has become so much of an issue that the players even developed a gallows-humor catchphrase for the league’s approach to insurers in such cases:

Related:
'That Has to Sting': NFL QB Loses Track of Where He Is, Gifts Opponents 2 Points That End Up Deciding the Game

Delay, deny and hope you die.”

This controversy isn’t going away anytime soon. And depending on how the court rules in this latest case, the next collective bargaining agreement could soon be the least of the NFL’s worries.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
, ,
Parler Share
Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Birthplace
Boston, Massachusetts
Education
Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Nevada-Reno
Location
Seattle, Washington
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Sports




Conversation