A federal judge approved an estimated $167 million in settlements by two managed-care companies in a massive class-action lawsuit against the nation's largest HMOs on behalf of about 950,000 doctors. U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno in Miami signed off on the deals by Health Net and Prudential Financial Services, bringing the number of agreements approved by Moreno to four. Health Net will pay $40 million to physicians, spend an estimated $80 million to improve the process of dealing with bill submissions and pay $20 million in the physicians' attorney fees. Prudential will pay $22.2 million to improve its processes and $5 million for attorney fees. WellPoint Health Networks and Anthem also have reached settlements. Harley Tropin, lead attorney for the doctors, said a trial is scheduled in January for the four remaining managed-care companies but settlement negotiations are ongoing. -- by the Associated Press
Judge OKs more settlements in doctors' suit against HMOs
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