Woman Fights Kaiser for Retirement Benefits
(CN) - Kaiser is unlawfully refusing to allow a former employee to participate in one of the health care provider’s retirement plans, a woman claims in federal court.
Marcia Stein began working for Kaiser Hospital as the Director of Medical Records in 1987.
In 1994, she was hired by Volt Management Corporation to take over duties as the hospItal's Medical Group Administrator for Clinic Records, during which time she was a participant in the company’s group benefits plan sponsored by Kaiser, according to the complaint.
Stein worked for the hospital and the medical group from 1994 until her retirement in 2011, drawing a paycheck from both entities.
She soon discovered, however, that Kaiser was only willing to pay for retirement benefits based on her employment with the hospital, not the medical group. Stein says she is entitled to benefits from both.
Defendants breached their fiduciary duties by telling Stein that she was ineligible to participate in the plan and refusing to allow her to participate in the plan, the complaint states.
Stein says Kaiser also refuses to provide her with election forms required under COBRA and that failure to do so under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) means stiff fines.
A plan administrator that fails or refuses to comply with a request for any information that is required to be furnished to a participant under ERISA, will be personally liable to the participant in the amount of $100 per day, after 30 days from the date of the failure or refusal, and the court may in its discretion order other relief it deems proper, according to the complaint.
Stein sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, The Permanente Medical Group Inc., Southern California Permanente Medical Group and Kaiser Medical Group Doctor’s Plan Administration for violations under ERISA, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
She wants a court to rule that Kaiser has breached its fiduciary duty and to appoint an independent fiduciary to oversee future administration of the plan.
Plaintiff is represented by Barbara Figari, in Pasadena.