August 29, 1983

(Opinion issued in letter form; name and address deleted)

Re: Opinion of Trustees
Resolution of Dispute
Case No. 176

Pursuant to Article IX of the United Mine Workers of America 1950 Benefit Plan and Trust, and under the authority of an exemption granted by the United States Department of Labor, the Trustees have reviewed your Request for Advisory Opinion, on behalf of Charles McKinnon, concerning the level of health benefit coverage for physician services. According to the information submitted, a total of $600.00 of charges was incurred for services received by the Employee on July 3, July 12, August 25, and September 15, 1979. The Employer deemed $465.00 of these charges to be excessive.

Under Article III.A. (10)(a) 12 of the Employer’s Plan, effective March 27, 1978, and 1978 Contract Question and Answer #62, attached hereto, the Employer is not required to pay a charge which the Plan Administrator, in his sole discretion, has determined to be excessive. Because this determination was made by the Plan Administrator, the Employer is not obligated to pay that portion of the charge. And, because the determination of whether a charge is excessive is solely within the discretion of the Plan Administrator, the Trustees may not comment on the reasonableness of the charge.


Harrison Combs, Chairman

John J. O’Connell, Trustee

Paul R. Dean, Trustee


cc: Charles McKinnon

Date: July 14, 1978

Control Number: 62

Index Reference Number: III A 10

Subject: Fee Maxima

References: Amended 1950 & 1974 Benefit Plans & Trusts, Art. III,

Sect. A (10) (a)12 Other: 1978 Contract Q&A #16


1. Do the Trustees have the right to establish fee maxima by procedure or provider within geographic area, and to limit payments to fee maxima?
2. If yes, what requirements are there, if any, for the uniform administration of fee maxima?
3. If fee maxima can be applied must they be identical among plans administered by the Trustees and the individual company Plan Administrators?


1. Yes. The Trustees of the 1950 and 1974 Benefit Plans and Trusts have the right to refuse to pay for “excessive charges as determined solely by the Trustees.”

2. There are no requirements for nationwide uniformity, but provides in equal status under the Trustees’ criteria must be treated equally.

3. No. The provisions of the 1950 and 1974 Benefit Plans and Trusts states that excessive charges are to be determined solely by the Trustees, and the provision of the company plans places that responsibility with the Plan Administrators as designated by those plans.