Tucked into amendments to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) are two unexpected provisions that put casualty insurance carriers on the hook to pay Black Lung benefits on claims that were closed many years ago.

Executive Summary

The new health care law has taken casualty insurance carriers back to the past—removing some 1981 restrictions to Black Lung Act benefits and reopening claims that workers compensation carriers thought were finalized long ago.

The Black Lung Benefits Act (BLBA) is Title IV of the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 that was passed by Congress to address unsafe and oftentimes deadly working conditions in the nation’s coal mines. The stated purpose of the BLBA is to provide specified benefits to coal miners who are totally disabled due to pneumoconiosis, also known as Black Lung—a chronic lung disease caused by the accumulation of coal dust in the lungs.

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