I-Team: New law bans discretionary clauses - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

I-Team: New law bans discretionary clauses

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Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed into law Tuesday a measure that bans insurance companies from denying long-term disability benefits.

NBC 10 Chief I-Team reporter Jim Taricani first brought the issue to light in a March 2013 report that detailed the case of Dr. Douglas Blake.

Blake's inability to work due to excruciating back pain was well documented, but his health insurer denied his disability claim.

He appealed in federal court, but lost.

Until recently, Rhode Island law allowed for so-called discretionary clauses in health insurance contracts, forcing judges to decide coverage appeals not on their merits, but only on whether the insurance company denied the claim arbitrarily.

Douglas won his disability benefits after a two-year fight and thousands of dollars in legal fees.

His attorney, Scott Kilpatrick, mounted an educational and outreach campaign for state lawmakers, who passed a bill prohibiting the discretionary clause.

Rhode Island becomes the 21st state to ban discretionary clauses.

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  • Call the I-Team Fraud and Waste Hotline at 401-455-9123 or e-mail iteam@wjar.com.

    About the I-Team

    NBC 10's I-Team was the first investigative unit in Rhode Island.

    Formed in 1979, the I-Team has produced award-winning investigations into organized crime, public corruption and social issues ranging from child abuse to battered women.

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  • Katie Davis

    Katie Davis

    Katie Davis is an I-Team reporter at NBC 10. She joined the team in January 2010 and is excited to live and work in New England.
    Katie Davis is an I-Team reporter at NBC 10. She joined the team in January 2010 and is excited to live and work in New England.
  • Parker Gavigan

    Parker Gavigan

    Parker Gavigan is an Associated Press award-winning journalist, and was named to the NBC 10 I-Team in January 2013. Parker digs deeper to get the answers that matter to you.
    Parker Gavigan is an Associated Press award-winning journalist, and was named to the NBC 10 I-Team in January 2013. Parker digs deeper to get the answers that matter to you.
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