DeBofsky Law Founder, Mark DeBofsky, filed an amicus brief on March 17, 2023, on behalf of 9 prominent organizations in support of a rehearing en banc in the case of David and Natasha Wit v. United Behavioral Health. The amicus brief urges the court to overturn the panel’s decision that threatens the availability of insurance coverage for the treatment of behavioral health conditions.
The amicus brief was filed on behalf of the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare, American Hospital Association, American Psychological Association, American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, California Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals, National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, National Council for Mental Wellbeing, and REDC Consortium.
These organizations support the District Court for the Northern District of California findings that the country’s largest managed healthcare and health insurance company for behavioral health services, United Behavioral Health (UBH), routinely denied patients access to covered outpatient, intensive outpatient, and residential mental health and substance use disorder treatment based on the application of guidelines that were found inconsistent with generally accepted standards of care.
The brief argues that the panel’s decision undermines access to safe and effective treatment for behavioral health and substance use disorders, setting a dangerous precedent for health insurance coverage. As the number of Americans struggling with behavioral health issues continues to increase, it is essential to ensure that access to necessary treatment is not impeded.
Background of the Wit vs United Behavioral Health (UBH) Case
- David and Natasha Wit sued United Behavioral Health (UBH) in two separate cases in the Northern District of California.
- In 2019, the district court found that UBH had improperly denied coverage for treatment of behavioral health conditions in both cases, following a 10-day bench trial and extensive briefing by the parties.
- The district court’s decisions resulted in a nationwide impact on coverage for treatment of behavioral health and substance use disorders, and were considered landmark rulings.
- UBH appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which issued a decision on January 26, 2023, overturning the district court’s findings of fact concerning UBH’s conduct.
- In response, several organizations, including the ones represented in Mark DeBofsky’s amicus brief, filed a motion for rehearing en banc to challenge the Ninth Circuit’s decision.