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Filing a Court Action
If an appeal under a plan subject to ERISA is denied (in whole or in part), you may file suit in a U.S. federal court. If you are successful, the court may order the defending person or organization to pay your related legal fees. If you lose, the court may order you to pay these fees (for example, if the court finds your claim frivolous). You may contact the U.S. Department of Labor or your state insurance regulatory agency for information about other available options.
If you bring a civil action under ERISA, you first must follow the procedures described above regarding filing a claim and up to two levels of internal appeals with the claims administrator. You must start the court action by the earlier of: (i) one year after the date of the denial of your final appeal; or (ii) three years after the date when your initial claim should have been filed, regardless of any state of federal statutes relating to limitations of actions. If, however, the applicable state or federal law relating to limitations of actions would result in a shorter limitations period within which to start the action, the shorter limitations period will apply. For the health plans, you cannot file a suit unless you have completed two appeals, if required by the claims administrators.