State of Vermont Abolishes Discretionary Clauses in ERISA Disability Policies

Our disability attorneys have been strong supporters and advocates in abolishing discretionary clauses from disability insurance policies on a nationwide basis. We are happy to report that in July 2012 the state of Vermont became the 20th State to prohibit discretionary clauses. This is a great victory for Vermont residents and levels the playing field for challenging denied disability claims in court. The Vermont Department of Insurance drafted a report on discretionary clauses in January 2012 to the Vermont House and Senate Committee on Health Care which detailed all of the problems with allowing discretionary clauses.

A New Law That Protects Vermont Disability Insurance Claimants

Finally in July 2012, the Vermont legislature passed the following law:


(a) The purpose of this section is to ensure that health insurance benefits, disability income protection coverage, and life insurance benefits are contractually guaranteed and to avoid the conflict of interest that may occur when the carrier responsible for providing benefits has discretionary authority to decide what benefits are due. Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose any requirement or duty on any person other than a health insurer or an insurer offering disability income protection coverage or life insurance.

(b) As used in this section:

(1) “Disability income protection coverage” means a policy, contract, certificate, or agreement that provides for weekly, monthly, or other periodic payments for a specified period during the continuance of disability resulting from illness, injury, or a combination of illness and injury.

(2) “Health care services” means services for the diagnosis, prevention, treatment, cure, or relief of a health condition, illness, injury, or disease.

(3) “Health insurer” means an insurance company that provides health insurance as defined in subdivision 3301(a)(2) of this title, a nonprofit hospital or medical service corporation, a managed care organization, a health maintenance organization, and, to the extent permitted under federal law, any administrator of an insured, self-insured, or publicly funded health care benefit plan offered by a public or private entity; as well as entities offering policies for specific disease, accident, injury, hospital indemnity, dental care, disability income, long-term care, and other limited benefit coverage.

(4) “Life insurance” means a policy, contract, certificate, or agreement that provides life insurance as defined in subdivision 3301(a)(1) of this title.

(c) No policy, contract, certificate, or agreement offered or issued in this state by a health insurer to provide, deliver, arrange for, pay for, or reimburse any of the costs of health care services may contain a provision purporting to reserve discretion to the health insurer to interpret the terms of the contract or to provide standards of interpretation or review that are inconsistent with the laws of this state, and on and after July 1, 2012, any such provision in a policy, contract, certificate, or agreement shall be null and void.

Our disability attorneys have helped disability claimants in Vermont and Nationwide to collect disability insurance benefits. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your claim.

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Do you work in my state?

Yes. We are a national disability insurance law firm that is available to represent you regardless of where you live in the United States. We have partner lawyers in every state and we have filed lawsuits in most federal courts nationwide. Our disability lawyers represent disability claimants at all stages of a claim for disability insurance benefits. There is nothing that our lawyers have not seen in the disability insurance world.

What are your fees?

Since we represent disability insurance claimants at different stages of a disability insurance claim we offer a variety of different fee options. We understand that claimants living on disability insurance benefits have a limited source of income; therefore we always try to work with the claimant to make our attorney fees as affordable as possible.

The three available fee options are a contingency fee agreement (no attorney fee or cost unless we make a recovery), hourly fee or fixed flat rate.

In every case we provide each client with a written fee agreement detailing the terms and conditions. We always offer a free initial phone consultation and we appreciate the opportunity to work with you in obtaining payment of your disability insurance benefits.

Do I have to come to your office to work with your law firm?

No. For purposes of efficiency and to reduce expenses for our clients we have found that 99% of our clients prefer to communicate via telephone, e-mail, fax, sessions, or Skype. If you prefer an initial in-person meeting please let us know. A disability company will never require you to come to their office and similarly we are set up so that we handle your entire claim without the need for you to come to our office.

How can I contact you?

When you call us during normal business hours you will immediately speak with a disability attorney. We can be reached at 800-682-8331 or by email. Lawyer and staff must return all client calls same day. Client emails are usually replied to within the same business day and seem to be the preferred and most efficient method of communication for most clients.

Reviews   *****

Craig (California)

Cesar and Michal helped me through my case against Prudential. That only touches the surface. I suffered a bad injury which made me a challenge as I often didn’t recall what was said and to whom.

Cesar took the leap of faith to help me but he didn’t treat me like a client but more as if I was part of your family. I don’t know how you were able to get transform the team to have such a great attitude but by far I must say I am treated well from the moment I called, retained your firm it helped me through the minute I faced IME’s. Cesar demonstrates empathy and cares for his clients. I know that I made the right decision to select your firm and am fortunate that firms such as yours are around to help go up against big companies.

I truly am happy to send you a note to advise of my complete satisfaction.

The first and most important matter you have at hand is to take care of your health and let your retained lawyers handle the information needed to not only be approved for long term disability but also to make sure that your claim is managed for the duration of your disability. The disability is a matter that may last a lifetime.

A thorough online yelp review was held prior to conversations with Cesar Gavidia Esq. and Michal Mizrahi from the firm of Dell & Schaefer. I decided to retain them to handle my disability claim. The law-firm has an elaborate web page that demonstrates their ability to go up against all the largest insurance with a stellar track record.

The ERISA law is complex and if you decide to battle the insurance company without representation the odds will be stacked against you. An insurance company has one goal alone and that is to generate profits. The representation of Cesar Gavidia Esq. and Michal Mizrahi were responsible for the successful appeal and approval of my case.

An insurance company typically will deny or delay the claim as the penalty for denial or delay is non-existent. In my case, I was prepared with retained council Cesar Gavidia Esq and Michal Mizrahi who prepared and submitted the ERISA appeal. The document was complete and included information to demonstrate that I was disabled and overturned a previous denial from Prudential.

I’m not only happy to say that I picked the right firm but that I have developed a trusting relationship with combination of Cesar Gavidia Esq. and Michal Mizrahi from the firm of Dell & Schaefer.

Cesar Gavidia Esq. or Michal Mizrahi will pick up calls and take the time to explain what is being done by the insurance company or return the call in a timely basis if they were busy. This was after I had signed to be represented.

I never met Cesar Gavidia Esq. or Michal Mizrahi in person but I consider them my friends versus just attorneys that have been hired.

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