CIGNA disability insurance is one of the major players in long-term disability insurance. Like most insurance companies they can be tough to deal with when filing a claim for disability.
An experienced legal team can help get your long-term disability claim approved. Insurance companies have lawyers, so should you. Our disability lawyers have handled hundreds of disability claims, appeals, and lawsuits against CIGNA disability insurance.
Purchase of CIGNA’s Group Insurance Business by New York Life
New York Life finalized the purchase of CIGNA’s group insurance business in December 2020. All group life, accident, and disability insurance claims will be handled under the New York Life (“NYL”) name. This includes Cigna and Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) policies. . New York Life has rebranded the former CIGNA’s insurance solutions as New York Life Group Benefit Solutions. It impacts millions of individuals. If New York Life now handles your CIGNA insurance, Dabdoub Law Firm can help clarify your current situation with NYL or what to expect if you need to file a disability claim or appeal.
Investigation & Settlement
In 2013, the department of insurance for several states investigated CIGNA’s handling of disability claims. They found that the disability insurance company was not always reviewing disability claims fairly and many were wrongly denied. As a result of this investigation, CIGNA entered into a settlement with five states. The company was fined fees and penalties for poor claims handling practices. The disability insurance company also agreed to make $77 million dollars available to pay valid disability claims denied in the past and claims being reviewed at the time. The settlement was with California, Maine, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.
CIGNA Disability Insurance Denials
Although CIGNA promised to improve its disability claims processing, many valid disability claims are still denied. A lawyer experienced with disability insurance claims can help your chances of being approved.
CIGNA’s Definition of Disability Changes
Most CIGNA disability insurance denials happen after 24 months. This is because the definition of disability in CIGNA’s disability policy changes to a higher standard. For the first 24 months, disability means you are unable to work in your own occupation. After 24 months, you must be unable to work in any occupation. At this stage, you have to not be able to work in a sedentary job. This requires you sitting up to 6 hours out of an 8-hour workday. Our law firm sees many CIGNA denials at this stage.
Disability Denial Based on Medical Review Alone
CIGNA regularly denies disability claims or terminates disability benefits without even having the person examined by a doctor. CIGNA will instead rely on a review of medical records by its own doctors. When this happens, CIGNA and its doctors claim the medical records do not support inability to work. CIGNA might go as far as to claim symptoms are based on self-reports and are subjective.
IME & Surveillance
Sometimes, CIGNA will require what it calls an independent medical examination or IME. These are done by a doctor CIGNA chooses. This doctor probably has been used many times before. They commonly deny disability benefits. And they usually are not fair in their evaluation.
They may also require a functional capacity evaluation or FCE. These are different tests to evaluate your functional abilities. It can measure your physical ability to perform work duties.
One tactic CIGNA uses is surveillance. On the day of the IME or FCE, the person is secretly filmed. CIGNA claims the surveillance shows you doing activities inconsistent with your claimed restrictions and limitations.
Another tactic used by CIGNA is to ask you or your treating doctors to complete forms. Usually the forms are vague and confusing. For example, CIGNA’s Physical Abilities Assessment form does not give the treating doctors an option to check off less than occasional work. Treating doctors often do not know how to complete CIGNA’s forms properly and can make mistakes. Courts have criticized CIGNA for using forms like the PAA.
How We Can Help
A lawyer for a CIGNA disability claim knows the law and how to use it. The disability insurance lawyers in our firm have seen every tactic by CIGNA. We use our experience to help clients with long-term disability claims, appeals, and file a lawsuit for disability benefits.
Call us at (800) 969-0488 to speak with a disability insurance lawyer today. We represent clients nationwide.
More on Cigna: