Jeremy Kryn


Catholic Duquesne U sues company for paying unauthorized contraceptive health claims

Jeremy Kryn

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania, August 8, 2011 ( - Last Tuesday, Duquesne University filed a lawsuit against Pittsburgh-based health insurance company Highmark Inc. for improperly paying reimbursements for contraceptive claims the Roman Catholic institution had specifically prohibited from coverage.

The lawsuit was filed in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas and seeks damages of $1.75 million to recover what the university says it overpaid between July 2007 and July 2010.

The Pittsburg Tribune-Review Newspaper reports that Duqesne hired Highmark in 2004 to help administer its medical benefits program. Under the contract, Highmark was to send prescription drug claims to another company, Caremark PSCHealth LLC. Instead, Highmark also approved payments for contraceptives, including IUDs and the birth control injection Depo-Provera. The total for those claims was $1,524,900, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Newspaper.

In addition to contraceptives, Highmark approved payments for drugs that the university excluded from coverage, including Botox, a drug used for cosmetic purposes, and immune globulin and Infliximab, which are used to treat autoimmune disease such as HIV.

According to CBS Pittsburgh, Highmark has 20 days to respond to the 140-page complaint by the university, which self-insures 1,600 employees.

Duquesne University did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

As previously reported by LifeSiteNews, Duquesne University President Charles Dougherty stopped Planned Parenthood advertisements from running on campus-based radio station WDUQ in 2007. Dougherty based his decision on the hostility to Catholic Church teachings by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading advocate for abortion.

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