A federal appeals court upheld Aetna's $470 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of the nation's physicians.
Some doctor groups had appealed the settlement, which was approved in October 2003 by U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno in Miami.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta dismissed the challenge, ruling that it could find "no abuse of discretion on the part of the district court in approving the settlement."
The settlement ends Aetna's part in an ongoing lawsuit, filed in 1999, against the nation's largest health insurers by some 900,000 physicians who claimed they were systematically shortchanged for their services.
Under the deal, Aetna, Hartford, Conn., agreed to make $300 million in improvements to its business systems and practices. It also agreed to pay $100 million to reimburse doctors for denied claims, $20 million to create a healthcare foundation and $50 million in legal fees.