Aetna, Hartford, Conn., said it will take a $72 million pretax charge in the second quarter after a trial court dismissed the health insurer's claims to liability coverage in a class-action lawsuit settled in 2003. In May 2003, Aetna agreed to pay about $187 million to settle its role in a lawsuit filed on behalf of some 900,000 doctors who claimed they were systematically shortchanged by the nation's largest health insurers. Aetna recorded a $115 million pretax charge in 2003 as a result of the settlement, expecting that the remaining $72 million would be covered by its third-party insurers; the company recorded the $72 million as a receivable although it hadn't received it from the insurers. On Monday, a Pennsylvania court issued a summary judgment dismissing all of Aetna's claims to the recovery amount. Aetna said that, although it plans to appeal the ruling, it concluded that collecting the $72 million was unlikely and decided to write off the full amount. The charge will reduce Aetna's second-quarter net income by $47 million after taxes. -- by Laura B. Benko
Aetna takes $72 million charge after court ruling
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