Great news for the hundreds of businesses from which Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan charged hidden fees: a federal court's recent ruling indicates that the businesses have several more years to file claims against BCBSM for return of the fees. On January 16, 2015, Judge David Lawson issued a lengthy opinion holding that the legal doctrine of class action tolling applies to BCBSM's fraudulent scheme. The doctrine "tolled"—i.e., prolonged—the six-year statute of limitations from September 2004 until August 2011.
The implication of Judge Lawson's ruling is that each business defrauded by BCBSM—typically, any self-insured company from 1994 to approximately 2011 that used BCBSM as its third-party administrator—can file a claim until 2017 if the business did not know of the hidden fees before September 2004. Of course, it is difficult to know of the hidden fees because they were purposely hidden. While Varnum has represented more than 70 businesses who were affected, the unfortunate news is that hundreds of businesses have yet to either realize fees were taken or to file a claim. The good news is that there is still time to do so.