Profession

Judge clears Aetna settlement

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 18, 2004

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The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cleared the way for Aetna to go forward with the settlement agreement reached last year in the massive class-action lawsuit alleging the plan unfairly reimbursed doctors.

The federal appeals court based in Atlanta in late September affirmed the settlement that the company agreed to with the nation's physicians and organized medicine. A handful of physicians challenged the settlement that U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno in Miami approved.

The settlement includes $100 million to be divided among physicians who are part of the class. Many physicians donated their portion to a foundation established under the agreement that will promote physician-directed improvements to the health care system. The agreement, among other things, outlines the steps Aetna will take to improve business relations with doctors, including disclosing how the company determines what it pays for physicians' services. Aetna estimates the business practice improvements will be worth about $300 million to physicians.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/10/18/prbf1018.htm.

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