Insurance Company Ordered to Pay $34 Million For Kicking 90-Year-Old Off Plan
"This is an important case that will hopefully change how other long-term care cases are handled for other policy holders."
- Daniel B. Bidegaray, lead attorney for Hull
An Omaha-based insurance provider has been ordered to pay more than $34 million after a jury in a Montana district court found the company in violation of Montana's unfair trade practices law and in breach of contract.
An attorney for the policy holder said the $34.25 million in damages is the largest penalty ever in a single-plaintiff case in Montana history.
According to court documents, Ability Insurance Co. denied coverage to a Montana woman who had been living in an assisted-living facility for 21 months when the company ordered an independent nurse's assessment of the woman. She had been a long-term care policy holder since the 1980s.
At the time, in late 2009, Arlene Hull, now 90 years old, of Billings, Mont., had been living with dementia for two years, experienced strokes and struggled with basic cognitive functions, like operating a microwave, walking and taking her medications on schedule. But after the independent nurse's assessment, Ability determined Hull should be considered independent and concluded that her condition could be rehabilitated.