A Pennsylvania federal judge gave preliminary approval to a $2.4 million class action settlement that would resolve a dispute between Cigna Corp. and a nationwide class that accused the company of improperly denying benefits for some types of autism spectrum disorder treatment.
On Oct. 31, U.S. District Judge Juan R. Sanchez approved the proposed class action settlement, which would provide compensation to current and former Cigna insurance policyholders who claim that, starting in Nov. 2004, they were denied benefits for their children’s autism treatments that had been deemed by Cigna to be “experimental, investigational or unproven.” Class Members will be able to submit claims for reimbursement for the treatment that was denied by Cigna.
Plaintiff Kristopher Churchill initially filed the class action lawsuit in 2010, alleging that Cigna has a policy of classifying Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) as an experimental autism treatment and does not provide insurance coverage for the treatment. Churchill argues that ABA is a well-recognized and scientifically valid form of treatment for children with autism. It is backed by the U.S. Surgeon General and the National Institute of Mental Health. When the class action lawsuit was filed, 26 states, including Pennsylvania, mandated insurance coverage for ABA treatment.
The Cigna ABA Denial Class Action Lawsuit is Churchill, et al. v. Cigna Corp., et al., Case No. 2:10-cv-06911, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.