An attorney for the state medical societies that are suing Cigna Corp. say both sides will discuss Cigna's proposed settlement with a court-appointed mediator on April 10.
Archie Lamb, co-lead counsel for some of the societies, says U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno last week ordered the meeting, along with a follow-up hearing on the Cigna settlement before him on April 29.
The societies' class action lawsuits against the Philadelphia-based company and eight other health plans allege, among other things, that the plans engaged in racketeering by unfairly reducing or delaying payments to doctors.
Cigna negotiated the settlement in November independent of the Miami actions, working with lawyers for Timothy Kaiser, M.D., of Alton, Ill., in state and federal courts in Illinois. But in December, Moreno issued an injunction requiring the settlement to be overseen by his court in Miami, and that injunction was subsequently upheld on appeal.
In the settlement, Cigna would change several billing practices and pay as much as $200 million to doctors who resubmit their medical bills. But the societies oppose the agreement, saying it does not go far enough to change the company?s bill-processing practices.
In related news, Lamb reports that the Miami plaintiffs are now deep in the legal discovery process, with 25 depositions to be taken from the health plans this month.
Lamb adds that a court-appointed mediator is meeting with the other defendant plans, hoping to convince them, too, to meet with the societies for settlement talks.
If no settlements can be reached, the cases will go to trial Dec. 9, Lamb says.