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Cigna Settles In Physician Rankings Investigation October 30, 2007

Posted by Reginald Johnson in Healthcare, Legal.
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Reginald Johnson: Tuesday October 30, 3:08 pm

ET Health-insurer Cigna Healthcare has agreed with New York Attorney General Mario Cuomo to make changes regarding its physician ranking program as part of Cuomo’s ongoing investigation into such rankings.

Cuomo sent letters to Cigna (NYSE: CI – News), UnitedHealthcare and Aetna in August, saying that their physician rankings are likely to confuse or even deceive consumers. Aetna and UnitedHealthcare have not reached settlements with Cuomo’s office, a spokesman said Monday.

Among other things, the letters said insurers have a profit motive to recommend doctors who cost less, not necessarily those who are most qualified, and that the insurers did not disclose the accuracy rate of their rankings.

The Attorney General’s Office said Monday that Cigna will “ensure that rankings for doctors are not based solely on cost and clearly identify the degree to which any ranking is based on cost.”

The company also pledged to “use established national standards to measure quality” and to tell doctors and consumers how the ranking systems are designed.

In a statement provided by the Attorney General’s Office, Cigna’s chief medical officer, Jeffrey Kang, said the company will “contribute up to $100,000 to an independent organization to develop better means of communicating to consumers all aspects of the ranking program in a clear and straightforward manner.”

Cigna Healthcare is part of Cigna Corp. of Philadelphia.

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