Cigna's efforts to make an end run around a Miami court dealing with physicians' lawsuits against health plans and settle its lawsuit in a southern Illinois court came to naught on Feb. 25, when a federal judicial panel upheld the jurisdiction of the federal court in Miami.
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in Washington ruled that the settlement must be overseen by federal Judge Federico Moreno, who is hearing dozens of lawsuits against Cigna and seven other health plans brought by 16 state medical societies.
Cigna says it still stands behind the settlement, which won preliminary approval by a federal judge in Illinois in November.
But in Moreno's Miami court, medical societies will have a chance to voice their opposition to it and push for their own settlement terms, which they are now hammering out with a few other plans.
Under Cigna's proposed agreement, the company would reveal billing methodologies, drop certain coding practices and pay doctors $50 million to $200 million. But the medical societies say the settlement falls short of their goal: to completely overhaul health plans' reimbursement procedures.
Edith Kallas, an attorney for the societies, says her side is in "serious" settlement talks with one unnamed plan and preliminary settlement talks with "a couple of others," but she would not provide details.
A trial date for the Miami lawsuits has been pushed back to November.