A federal judge approved the $470 million settlement reached between Aetna, Hartford, Conn., and 950,000 active and retired physicians who claim they were routinely shortchanged by the nation's largest health insurers. U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno in Miami had given preliminary approval to the agreement in May. Under the deal, Aetna agreed to pay $100 million to reimburse doctors for denied claims, $20 million to create a new healthcare foundation, $50 million in legal fees, and $300 million to overhaul its claims processing system and improve communication with physicians. Moreno is scheduled on Dec. 18 to hold a final hearing on a similar $540 million settlement proposed by Cigna Corp., Philadelphia. The other defendants -- Anthem, Coventry Health Care, Health Net, Humana, PacifiCare Health Systems, UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint Health Networks -- have said they will go to trial rather than settle out of court and have challenged the case's class-action status before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. -- by Laura B. Benko
Judge approves Aetna's $470 million settlement
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