Under California law, the fees and expenses of the neutral arbitrator are divided between the claimants and the respondents. The Rules for Kaiser Permanente Member Arbitrations Administered by the Office of the Independent Administrator (Rules) provide ways for claimants to shift that obligation to Kaiser. The Rules also allow claimants to request a waiver of the $150 filing fee if they cannot afford it. Please see the three options below for waiver of fees.
1. Waiver of the $150 Filing Fee
A claimant whose gross monthly income is less than three times the federal poverty guidelines does not have to pay the filing fee. The claimant must complete the Claimant’s Request for Waiver of $150 Arbitration Filing Fee form on page 1 and mail, fax, or e-mail it to the OIA within 75 days of the day the OIA received the demand for arbitration. Please note: This waiver request has a deadline. See Rule 12.
A claimant whose gross monthly income is more than three times the federal poverty guidelines may still qualify for a waiver of the filing fee because of financial hardship. See option 3 below.
2. Waiver of the Neutral Arbitrator’s Fees and Expenses
A claimant who signs and returns the Waiver of Objection to Payment of Fees and the Waiver of Party Arbitrator - Claimants forms does not have to pay the neutral arbitrator’s fees. No financial information is required. All claimants and their attorneys must sign the forms. By signing these forms, a claimant agrees 1) not to object that the arbitration is somehow unfair because Kaiser pays all the neutral arbitrator’s fees and expenses and 2) not to use a party arbitrator. See Rule 15 and pages 2-3 for the forms.
This is the most common waiver. It only requires the signatures of all claimants and their counsel.
3. Waiver of the $150 Filing Fee and the Neutral Arbitrator’s Fees and Expenses While Retaining the Right to a Party Arbitrator
A claimant with extreme financial hardship may request a waiver of both the filing fee and the neutral arbitrator’s fees and expenses while retaining the right to a party arbitrator. Financial hardship includes receiving some form of public assistance, or when monthly expenses exceed monthly income. A claimant must complete the Request Form for Waiver of Filing Fee and Fees and Expenses of Neutral Arbitrator found on pages 4-8.
A copy of this form is given to Kaiser. While Kaiser may object to the request, it is the OIA that decides the fee waiver. If the request is granted, the filing fee is waived and Kaiser pays 100% of the neutral arbitrator’s fees and expenses. If the claimant elects to have a party arbitrator, the claimant is responsible for their party arbitrator’s fees and expenses. See Rule 13.