Power Morcellator News: Growing Number of Insurance Companies Considering Limits on Uterine Morcellation

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Bernstein Liebhard LLP comments on media reports indicating that the list of insurance companies banning or limiting coverage for uterine morcellation has grown steadily since the FDA cautioned against the use of power morcellators in the vast majority of women undergoing hysterectomy or fibroid removal surgery.

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Considering the potential for serious harm, it is good news that insurance companies are taking steps to mitigate the risks associated with these types of procedures.

More health insurers are considering bans or limits on coverage for uterine morcellation, in the wake of warnings from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the potential for power morcellators (http://www.morcellatorlawsuit2015.com) to spread and upstage undetected uterine cancers. According to one recent report, Aetna, Health Care Service Corp, Cigna and America's Health Insurance Plans are among the insurance companies now preparing new restrictions.*

“We’ve already seen numerous insurers change the way they cover uterine morcellation since the FDA first warned in April 2014 about the potential for power morcellators to spread gynecological cancers, and it appears that the trend has continued since the agency strengthened its warning last November. ** Considering the potential for serious harm, it is good news that insurance companies are taking steps to mitigate the risks associated with these types of procedures,” says Sandy A. Liebhard, a partner at Bernstein Liebhard LLP, a nationwide law firm representing victims of defective drugs and medical devices. The Firm is providing free legal consultations to women who were diagnosed with advanced uterine cancer following surgery with a power morcellator.

Power Morcellators and Cancer
Power morcellators are used in minimally-invasive hysterectomies and fibroid removal procedures to shred tissue so that it may be removed through a small abdominal incision. On April 17, 2014, the FDA issued a public alert which discouraged doctors from using the devices in gynecological procedures, due to their potential to spread undetected uterine cancers.** This past November, the agency went further and warned against the use of power morcellators in the majority of women who require hysterectomy and fibroid removals. The agency also asked morcellator manufacturers to add a new black box warning – the strongest possible safety notice – regarding this life-threatening complication to their labels.

In September 2014, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based Capital BlueCross announced it would discontinue coverage for uterine morcellation effective November 1st.*** The prior month, Highmark, Inc., one of the nation’s largest Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance companies, disclosed that it would also end coverage effective September 1st. **** In Massachusetts, Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Harvard Pilgrim and Fallon Health have also subjected morcellation to coverage restrictions.***** Most recently, UnitedHealthCare announced that it would require preauthorization all hysterectomies, except those which don’t require the use of a morcellator.******

Alleged victims of uterine cancers that were spread via a power morcellator may be entitled to compensation for their injury-related damages. To learn more, please visit Bernstein Liebhard LLPs website, or call the Firm directly for a free, no-obligation case review at 800-511-5092.

*fiercehealthpayer.com/story/more-insurers-restrict-morcellator-use-hysterectomies/2015-04-06, FierceHealthPayer.com, per The Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2015
**fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm424435.htm, FDA, November 24, 2014
***capbluecross.com/wps/wcm/connect/cbc-public/cbc/aboutus/press+room/news+releases/2014+news+releases/morcellatorcoveragediscontinued, Capital BlueCross, August 2014
****in.reuters.com/article/2014/08/02/highmark-procedure-idINL2N0Q80IY20140802, Reuters, August 3, 2014
*****telegram.com/article/20140809/NEWS/308099942/0, Worcester Telegram, August 9, 2014
******wsj.com/articles/biggest-u-s-health-insurer-tightens-rules-on-hysterectomy-coverage-1424990877, February 26, 2015

About Bernstein Liebhard LLP
Bernstein Liebhard LLP is a New York-based law firm exclusively representing injured persons in complex individual and class action lawsuits nationwide since 1993. As a national law firm, Bernstein Liebhard LLP possesses all of the legal and financial resources required to successfully challenge billion dollar pharmaceutical and medical device companies. As a result, our attorneys and legal staff have been able to recover more than $3 billion on behalf of our clients. The National Law Journal has recognized Bernstein Liebhard for twelve consecutive years as one of the top plaintiffs' firms in the country. Bernstein Liebhard LLP is the only firm in the country to be named to this prestigious list every year since it was first published in 2003.

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ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. © 2015 Bernstein Liebhard LLP. The law firm responsible for this advertisement is Bernstein Liebhard LLP, 10 East 40th Street, New York, New York 10016, 800-511-5092. Prior results do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future matter.

Contact Information:
Sandy A. Liebhard, Esq.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP

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