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Insurer may face $5 million in penalties in divorce case

The devil is in the details and for anyone involved in an Illinois divorce, it certainly is true. However, few people dealing with the issues of a divorce case expect that they will wind up fighting a large heath insurance company for child support payments. The detail here is the definition of "payor." The litigation over this word has led to Blue Cross Blue Shield being potentially liable for $5 million.

The couple divorced in 2008, and in the settlement, the wife obtained a $930 per week payment that includes child support, alimony and insurance. When she did not received the correct amounts or payments were missing, she filed a withholding order with Blue Cross. Typically, a withholding order would be filed with an employer, but her former spouse is a chiropractor and is reimbursed by Blue Cross of Illinois.

Blue Cross claimed they did not handle withholding orders. She sued and eventually an Illinois appellate court ordered them to pay, finding Blue Cross subject to the law and the penalty for failing to comply.

Apparently, the statute uses the term "payor" and not "employer" and because of how the former husband receives payment from Blue Cross, they are the payor. Her ex-husband is still behind in his payments, but he, too, places the blame on Blue Cross, for causing "problems and confusion," according to his attorney.

The lawsuit has cost the women one house to foreclosure and she is at risk to lose a second. The full amount of the damages Blue Cross owes remains to be determined and she is not optimistic about receiving payment from Blue Cross.

Even the judge who issued the order expected the insurance company to continue to drag on the proceedings.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Woman battling Blue Cross over child support," Lisa Black, September 1, 2013

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