Aetna Settlement With Dentists Gains Preliminary Approval from Federal Judge
U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno on Friday gave preliminary approval to the settlement of a lawsuit filed by the American Dental Association against Connecticut-based insurer Aetna, the AP/Baltimore Sun reports (AP/Baltimore Sun, 3/27). Under the settlement, signed last August, Aetna will pay $4 million to 40,000 to 50,000 dentists who have provided services to Aetna members since August 1995; contribute $1 million to the ADA Foundation; and pay as much as $1.25 million in attorney fees for the dentists. Aetna also agreed to establish an advisory committee of eight dentists and a company representative to recommend billing practices; increase the number of automatically processed dental claims; pay properly submitted electronic dental claims within 15 days and properly submitted paper dental claims within 30 days; and provide dentists with Internet access to track claims (California Healthline, 8/20/03). Richard Doren, an attorney for Aetna, praised the settlement. Peter Sfikas, ADA's chief legal officer, said that the insurer's "commitment to change its business practices is more significant than the dollar amount of the settlement," the AP/Sun reports. Moreno set a July 20 hearing for final approval of the settlement (AP/Baltimore Sun, 3/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.