Conn. physicians sue plans, claim defamation

They're mad as hell, and they're not going to take it anymore. A group of Connecticut physicians is suing two of the state's health plans, claiming the plans are pushing patients to go with so-called "elite" doctors rather than their practices. The suit, which names Cigna and UnitedHealth, says designating some doctors as special or better is damaging their reputations. They also say such practices are becoming a trend, one they want to address before it becomes widespread. The physicians are unlikely to slow the trend under which physicians are rated on quality and price, but they're hoping to at least make the ratings more transparent; under the current system, physicians may have no idea whether they're considered special or not.

The complaint says if the two plans name certain endocrinologists, dermatologists, obstetricians and other specialists as elite, patients who choose those physicians are rewarded with lower co-payments. While the plaintiffs concede that UnitedHealth has not kicked off such a program yet, they want a judge to stop them from launching one.

To learn more about the battle:
- read this piece from The Associated Press

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