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Health insurance giant Humana Health Care has settled a class action suit filed on behalf of hundreds of thousands of physicians for a total of $58 million in payments to doctors and legal fees. Louisville, Ky.-based Humana joins other managed care insurers such as Health Net Inc. and Prudential Financial Inc., whose settlements this year collectively totaled about $167 million and have been granted final approval by U.S. District Judge Federico A. Moreno in Miami. On Sept. 26, Judge Moreno approved the Health Net and Prudential settlements, which were negotiated earlier this year, to end a class action lawsuit brought by about 700,000 doctors and state medical societies. The doctors alleged that Humana, Health Net and Prudential used computer software to delay and deny reimbursements and reject claims for medically necessary services in violation of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Settlements involving two other defendants in the consolidated multidistrict case, Aetna Inc. and Cigna Corp., were approved by Moreno in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Moreno will be asked this week to approve the Humana settlement, said Archie Lamb of Birmingham, Ala., who is one of the lead lawyers representing the plaintiff class.

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