Cigna Corp., Philadelphia, has agreed to settle a 2-year-old class-action lawsuit accusing it of shortchanging physicians by not telling them upfront how they would be paid; but terms of the settlement have yet to be reached. The suit, initially filed by a single physician in state court in Madison County, Ill., and subsequently backed by the 15,000-member Illinois State Medical Society, alleged that Cigna, the nation's third-largest health insurer, and other PPOs arbitrarily changed contract terms and bundled fees, reducing reimbursement to physicians. Cigna's PPO contracts with 300,000 physicians nationwide. According to the Chicago Tribune, plaintiffs' attorneys said Cigna could be liable for up to $200 million in reimbursements. A Cigna spokesman said there is "no conceivable way" the insurer would agree to so large a sum. The final settlement must be approved by a federal judge. Also named in the lawsuit are PPOs run by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Chicago, and Healthlink, St. Louis. Both companies have called the allegations groundless. -- by Laura B. Benko
Cigna to settle physician class-action charges
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