The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta dismissed all challenges in April to a $540 million settlement between Cigna Corp., Philadelphia, and several hundred thousand physicians. The settlement was approved in February by U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno in Miami, but a small group of doctors sought to derail it through the courts. The way is now clear for implementation of the settlement, ending Cigna's part in a massive class-action lawsuit against the nation's largest health insurers. The lawsuit, filed in 1999 on behalf of some 900,000 doctors, claims the insurers systematically underpaid physicians for their services.
Under the settlement, Cigna will spend $70 million to repay doctors, $55 million in attorneys' fees, $15 million to create a healthcare foundation and $400 million to improve its billing systems. Aetna reached a similar $470 million settlement in May 2003. A trial for the remaining defendants is set for June in Miami.