Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Doctors’ Class-Action Suit Against HMOs
The Supreme Court yesterday agreed to consider whether 600,000 doctors can jointly sue HMOs for violating federal racketeering laws or if they must settle their disputes through arbitration, the AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Holland, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/16). In late September, U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno approved a class-action lawsuit brought by the doctors and consolidated in Miami alleging that insurers -- including Aetna, Anthem, Cigna, Coventry, Humana, PacifiCare, UnitedHealthcare and Wellpoint -- routinely shortchanged physicians to make a profit. Attorneys for several of the HMOs appealed Moreno's ruling (California Healthline, 10/9). In the Supreme Court case, PacifiCare Health Systems v. Book, PacifiCare and UnitedHealthcare contend that some doctors signed contracts agreeing to settle the dispute in arbitration. Many companies favor arbitration because it is usually "cheaper, faster and more predictable" than a trial, the AP/Inquirer reports (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/16). CBS' "Evening News" Tuesday included a report on the suit (Rather, "CBS Evening News," CBS, 10/15). The full segment is available in RealPlayer online.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.