The Missouri Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Nevils v. Group Health Plan on Feb. 4, 2014, holding that that FEHBA does not preempt Missouri law which prohibits subrogation on personal injury claims. This decision overrides a contrary ruling by the Eastern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Nevils v. Group Health Plan, Inc., No. ED98538, ––– S.W.3d ––––, ––––, 2012 WL 6689542, at *4 (Mo.App. E.D. December 26, 2012).
As many of you may know, the FEHBA subro collectors have been relying upon a letter issued by the federal agency in connection with their effort to distinguish the McVeigh case. Footnote 2 of this opinion addresses and rejects the letter as follows:
The OPM carrier letter is recent, informal and was drafted in response to litigation challenging the subrogation provision in its contract. While informal agency interpretations of statutes are relevant, there is no indication that Congress delegated to the OPM the authority to make binding interpretations of the scope of the FEHBA preemption clause. The OPM letter is not entitled to the deference described in Chevron and does not establish that FEHBA preempts state anti-subrogation law. See Kobold, 309 P.3d at 929.
Thank you Professor Baron for the above commentary