Life as we knew it completely changed in March, when the country began navigating the new normal of living in a pandemic. The novel coronavirus completely dominated the spring news cycle, and early on there were many stories about how insurers were responding to the crisis. By April, most of the major payors, like UnitedHealthcare and Anthem, had waived co-pays and announced they would cover the cost of testing and telehealth. Cigna lagged behind its peers, but the insurer eventually promised to provide the same COVID-19 coverage to its members. Several months into the pandemic the questions is, did Cigna deliver on its promise? According to Dr. Steven A.R. Murphy of Murphy Medical Associates LLC in Connecticut, the answer is a resounding no. Murphy, who owns four healthcare practices in the state, is suing Cigna for $9.3 million in damages, claiming the payor has rejected thousands of valid COVID-19 test claims. And Murphy is not the only provider to take legal action against Cigna for issuing purportedly arbitrary denials—the payor faces a similar lawsuit around testing in New Jersey. Here’s what we’re taking away from these lawsuits. Not only are insurers failing to collaborate with providers during COVID-19, some, like Cigna, are actively working against them.
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