WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court has turned away a challenge from former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and other Social Security recipients who say they have the right to reject Medicare in favor of continuing health coverage from private insurers.

The justices did not comment in letting stand a federal appeals court ruling that held that there is no way for people who receive Social Security to reject Medicare benefits.

Armey and two other former federal employees say private insurance covers more than Medicare. Two other plaintiffs are wealthy individuals who have high deductible private insurance and prefer to pay for their health care. The case was funded by a group called the Fund For Personal Liberty.

Class-action lawsuits

Also Monday, the justices weighed new constraints on class-action lawsuits, reviewing a case from an Arkansas county that companies say is rife with abusive litigation tactics and plaintiff-friendly judges.

Hearing arguments, the justices generally voiced support for a Travelers Cos. unit battling a suit over homeowners' insurance claims.

The case turns on a tactic used by plaintiffs' attorneys to ensure that cases are handled by state judges, rather than in the federal courts that tend to give businesses a more favorable reception.

Under the disputed approach, lawyers agree not to seek more than $5 million -- the threshold that sends class-action suits to federal court.