Despite Kirkendall, Never Assume You Don't Have to File an Administrative Appeal

This is interesting, right on the heels of all the discussion about the Second Circuit, in Kirkendall, not requiring a participant to exhaust administrative remedies by appealing a benefit determination before filing suit. As I noted in my discussion the other day about Kirkendall, the Court did not require an appeal because the plan did not clearly impose such an obligation. But what if the plan did, in clear language, provide a right and obligation to appeal? Well, the Eighth Circuit has just reminded us that, in that case, an appeal is necessary, and the failure to do so precludes filing suit. The case is Reindl v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co., discussed in this excellent post by the entertainingly named (and entertainingly written) Boom blog.