Aetna, Hartford, Conn., agreed to pay $470 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by physicians who claim the insurer was among several systematically reducing physician payments and interfering in patient care. Aetna is the first company to settle the lawsuit, which was filed by groups representing 700,000 physicians. As part of the settlement, the insurer agreed to change its billing methods, create a not-for-profit foundation to help improve medical care and establish an advisory panel of doctors to work on key issues. The agreement must be approved by U.S. District Court, Miami, where several lawsuits stretching back nearly four years were consolidated. Other insurers named include Anthem, Cigna Corp., Humana, PacifiCare Health Systems, UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint Health Networks. American Medical Association President-elect Donald Palmisano said the AMA "anticipates other health plans will recognize the progressive nature of today's agreement if they are serious about restoring confidence in our healthcare system and repairing badly damaged relationships with physicians." -- by Michael Romano
Aetna, physicians reach $470 million settlement
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.