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Court says health plan lawsuit cutoff legal

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says a contractual limit on suing over health plan benefits is legal.

The high court unanimously ruled against Julie Heimeshoff, who worked as a Wal-Mart senior public relations manager. She filed for long term disability benefits with Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., after being diagnosed with lupus and fibromyalgia in 2005 but was denied in 2007.

She sued in federal court for her benefits in 2010, but Hartford says her claim had to be filed within three years and she missed the time limit.

Heimeshoff said the Employee Retirement Income Security Act doesn't have a time limit but Justice Clarence Thomas said for the court that the contract is enforceable.

"A participant and a plan may agree by contract to a particular limitations period," Thomas said.

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