Aetna settles 239-person class suit over spine surgery coverage

Spine

Aetna Life Insurance reached a settlement to resolve a 239-person class action lawsuit over its coverage of lumbar artificial disc replacements.

Plaintiffs Brian Hendricks and Andrew Sagalongos reached the settlement with Aetna on Dec. 2, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The amount of the settlement wasn't disclosed, but the parties will convene in February 2023 to address the next steps.

The settlement concludes a yearslong saga that began with a 2019 lawsuit filed by Mr. Hendricks and Mr. Sagalongos. They alleged Aetna denied coverage for lumbar artificial disc replacements, violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

Aetna had argued that lumbar artificial disc replacement was "experimental and investigational," despite the procedure being FDA-approved for more than a decade.

The lawsuit was initially dismissed. In 2021, it was allowed to go forward.

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