Insurance companies don’t intimidate Barbara Maw |

Insurance companies don’t intimidate Barbara Maw

Barbara Maw has had some trouble with her hands. Like many Americans, she struggled navigating the health-care industry’s bureaucracy while getting care.

But, unlike most Americans, Maw knew what to say and do if she had trouble with her insurance provider.

That’s because the majority of her law career was spent defending insurance companies in lawsuits filed by clients. She understands the fine print on contracts and has undergone litigation for people on both sides of the issue.

Maw’s private practice is welcoming new business from people needing help interpreting insurance agreements and engaging in litigation over uncovered claims.

There are a lot of people advocating on behalf of patients. Maw says she isn’t one of them. She understands very little about the health-care industry. Her realm of expertise is in the contracts an area few others can help with.

For example, there is a significant legal distinction in the wording, "the insured," versus "any insured," she said. A situation she has personal experience with is "informed consent." It requires more than a physician explaining the potential risks to a procedure. It requires the costs of treatment to be explained.

Maw said she saved herself from being prescribed a $30,000 per month medication. The doctor didn’t even know it cost that much, she said.

"You’re most vulnerable in life when you’re sick. You can’t think clearly," Maw said.

If the bureaucracy wasn’t complicated enough, most people are confused as to what their benefits even are, she said.

Maw said she has attended meetings and cringed as human resources professionals tried to explain benefits. The contracts are sophisticated documents, and a lot of people struggle, she said.

Especially at risk are the elderly and there’s a lot of deception targeting older Americans.

"The fraud is amazing," she added. "We’re all going to be there and the more assets you have the more you need to be protected."

It doesn’t make any sense to be forced into bankruptcy or to lose one’s retirement over an illness, she said.

Maw said she discovered an interest in litigation during law school. The only fields requiring a specialty in litigation were criminal defense and insurance defense, so she went into the latter.

"I spent 26 years representing companies, and I still do," she said.

The thing about litigating these issues, Maw said, is the winner is usually the one who screams the loudest. That’s why having an expert in your corner is so important, she explained.

Companies often try to base their denials for payment on ambiguous provisions in the contract. But when there is ambiguity, the law nearly always sides with the insured, she said.

Maw said she has experience helping people get approval for surgeries they need, and fighting imbalanced or discriminatory applications of the policy (being told no although someone with a similar case was told yes).

She can help address issues with prescriptions and the costs of having to go through primary physicians as well as specialists instead of heading straight to specialists for care.

She’s sued and defended people who sell the policies. She likes helping the elderly fight home-care abuse, family abuse and anyone trying to take advantage of them.

During her career, she’s also handled issues with product liability, malpractice, construction defects, massive tort cases and pharmaceutical litigation.

Barbara L. Maw

1413 Center Drive, Suite 250


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