Cigna beats class-action bid alleging it overcharged for medical equipment

A federal judge in Connecticut has denied a class-action bid against Cigna for allegedly overcharging members for medical equipment and violating its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

Cigna argued that plaintiffs would not be able to investigate their claims without an "individualized assessment" of each affected health plan and the extent of their TPA contract with Cigna. The judge agreed and said the plaintiffs failed to establish commonality.

"The variety of potential outcomes across the class and the possibility that Cigna's actions may prove permissible in some instances while impermissible in others precludes the imposition of singular injunctive relief for the class as a whole," the judge wrote.

The lawsuit was filed in 2017 and claimed Cigna artificially inflated prices for medical care devices and services to pocket members' overpayments. In 2022, Cigna members or those that used Cigna as a third-party benefits administrator sought class certification in the case "with thousands of potential plaintiffs and plans."  

Though the complaint originally alleged numerous ERISA violations and overcharging for services, the class certification bid centered around Cigna's previous contract with CareCentrix, which ran from 2003 to 2021.

The plaintiffs allege CareCentrix, a home health benefits manager, paid lower prices to other providers than what Cigna was paying CareCentrix for the same services. The plaintiffs allege Cigna overcharged for home medical equipment, such as canes and CPAP machines, and other services arranged by CareCentrix.

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