Profession

CIGNA settlement gets final OK

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 10, 2004

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A federal court in late April dismissed the appeals standing in the way of the court's final approval of the settlement agreement between CIGNA HealthCare and the nation's physicians. The action clears the way for the company to implement the settlement that addresses doctors' concerns about how the company paid them.

As a result of the settlement, filed in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida, CIGNA will, among other things, follow standard CPT codes, use standard clinical definitions of medical necessity, limit physician fee schedule changes to one per calendar year, establish an e-mail procedure that lets physicians ask questions about fee schedules and claims coding, and contribute $15 million to a state medical society-run foundation established for public health improvement.

This case was one of a number that physicians filed against the nation's largest health plans. The cases were all transferred to the same federal court judge. Aetna also settled with physicians. Similar class-action lawsuits are still pending against Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Coventry Health Care Inc., Humana Inc., Prudential Insurance Co. of America, United Healthcare Inc. and WellPoint Health Networks Inc.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/05/10/prbf0510.htm.

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