Aetna loses bid for immediate appeal in spine coverage lawsuit


Aetna Life Insurance was denied a petition for an immediate appeal in a 239-person class lawsuit that went forward in June.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued the order Oct. 15.

A 2019 lawsuit alleged Aetna denied coverage for artificial disc replacement surgery, saying the procedure was "experimental or investigational." The lawsuit was initially dismissed. However, a June 11 motion allowed the case to go forward.

The class of 239 patients is defined as "All persons covered under Aetna Plans, governed by ERISA, self-funded or fully insured, whose requests for lumbar artificial disc replacement surgery were denied at any time within the applicable statute of limitations, or whose requests for that surgery will be denied in the future, on the ground that lumbar artificial disc replacement surgery is experimental or investigational, and whose denials will be subject to abuse of discretion review by the district court."

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