In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued a number of Proclamations aimed at protecting the public from the pandemic. Pursuant to Louisiana law, and as embodied in these Proclamations, the Louisiana Commissioner of Insurance, James Donelon, issued Emergency Rule 36 and Emergency Rule 40 which, inter alia,suspended the practice of “step therapy” and prohibited health insurers from cancelling or non-renewing policies for approximately thirty (30) days. The Louisiana Association of Hospital Plans,Inc. (“LAHP”), an association of health care insurers and other providers that comprise Louisiana’s health benefits industry, filed a Petition for Declaratory Relief in the Division of Administrative Law seeking a declaration that Emergency Rules 36 and 40 are unconstitutional and a stay order preventing their enforcement. The Louisiana Department of Insurance (“LDI”) hired the Cullens Group to defend these emergency rules and the Commissioner’s legal authority to issue them. On April 7, 2020, the Cullens Group filed an Exception of Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction seeking dismissal of LAHP’s petition. Following extensive briefing and argument, on April 21, 2020, the Administrative Law Judge assigned to this case ruled in favor of the LDI, granted the exception filed by the Cullens Group, and dismissed the petition filed by LAHP. Click here to read this Order.
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