Class-action trial date pushed back

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 2, 2004

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A federal judge in Miami pushed back until Sept. 13 the trial date for the class-action lawsuit doctors have filed against the nation's largest health plans. The trial was originally scheduled to begin in June. The class is estimated to include about 950,000 active and retired physicians.

Individual physicians and their professional organizations filed lawsuits against HMOs across the nation that were consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami.

The lawsuits accuse companies of unfair business practices in the way they paid doctors for their work, including bundling and downcoding and arbitrarily rejecting some claims.

Aetna and CIGNA HealthCare have settled suits against them. But lawsuits remain against United Healthcare Inc, Humana Inc., Anthem Inc., WellPoint Health Networks, PacifiCare Health Systems Inc. and Coventry Health Care Inc.

An appeal of whether the lawsuits were properly given class-action status is still pending before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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