Disability insurance lawyers Frankel & Newfield have represented hundreds of claimants whose disability benefits have been denied or terminated by CIGNA or its affiliate life insurance company LINA (Life Insurance Company of North America). Most of CIGNA’s disability coverage is provided to large and small companies, rather than individual policies, which means that they are governed by ERISA, a federal law with many strict procedures. Thus, these are often called ERISA disability claims.
If your CIGNA or LINA disability insurance benefits have been denied or terminated, call Frankel & Newfield today for a free consultation at 877-LTD-CLAIM (877-583-2524).
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When you file a long-term disability claim with CIGNA, you can expect there to be some challenges. For starters, you willl want to be very careful about getting your treating doctor on board with gathering all of your medical records prepared to demonstrate more than a diagnosis – but HOW and WHY you are impaired. Their response to your CIGNA long-term disability claim could make the difference between an approved claim and one that is denied. See the testimonial from one of Frankel & Newfield’s CIGNA clients below concerning doctor’s records and how easy it is to make one mistake that can erase your disability insurance.
You’ll also want to be very careful about documenting your contact with any CIGNA representatives. Every time you have an interaction with a representative from the company, or from one of the many subcontractors that CIGNA hires to investigate claims, take detailed notes. Here are some of the people who might contact you directly at CIGNA’s direction:
Depending on the nature of your claim, your age and the size of your benefit, you might be subject to surveillance. These are the professionals you won’t meet – – they’ll more than likely conduct video surveillance to track your coming and going or anything you do outside your home. Yes, it’s creepy, but it’s part of the long-term disability claims management process. Often, minor activity is utilized by CIGNA to determine greater functionality than is reality.
The attorneys at Frankel & Newfield have successfully represented many CIGNA disability insurance policyholders in their quest to obtain or maintain their short term and long-term disability insurance benefits from CIGNA or LINA. They know the tactics and strategies used by Cigna to delay and deny benefits, and they know the insurance company’s internal representatives.
We work with clients who have:
A nurse administrator from Maine posted this review on Avvo about how Jason helped her with a CIGNA disability policy:
I can’t say enough positive things about Jason and his group. He saved me!
My insurance had actually cut me off, because my Dr. had checked the wrong box – they didn’t call, ask questions, verify, etc. after years of my condition and the medical form always being the same. I have a chronic issue that will not go away or get better.
Instead they cut off my income that day – with no notice. All of a sudden I had no income – and had no idea how to appeal their decision. I thank God I found Jason as he walked me through all of the steps to maximize my supporting information, records etc. that would be needed to send in. Then he added his special legal input and documentation – and after a year of fighting them, my benefits were restored – AND I was provided the back pay!!!
Another client who was terminated by Cigna and represented by Frankel & Newfield posted this review:
“As a result of my disability claim with Cigna being terminated I needed to file an appeal to get it restored. After some research on which firm would best handle this case, I emailed Frankel and Newfield, P. C. With a brief description of my case. Within minutes of sending the email I received a call from Jason Newfield. Mr. Newfield was able to answer all my questions and informed me I had a very strong case. As a result of our very informative and cordial call, I decided to hire Mr. Newfield’s firm to file the appeal. Mr. Newfield and his Senior Paralegal “Christina Murray” were amazing dealing with Cigna. They took complete charge of my case and walked me through everything from start to finish and the end result was full restoration of my benefits. I highly recommend their firm!” DavidReady To Talk?
One LINA (subsidiary of CIGNA) case made its way to Federal Court after an extensive series of appeals and denials through the administrative hearing process. The insurance company took the position that the claimant’s occupation was not Sales Personnel and that he was therefore not entitled to a higher level of disability benefits that would result if his bonuses and target incentive bonuses were included.
But the man was a sales rep for a big pharmaceutical company and his income was structured specifically with bonuses and targeted incentive compensation bonuses.
LINA/CIGNA sought to reclassify his occupation to minimize his monthly benefits. In Federal Court, the judge ruled that LINA/CIGNA failed to prove that he was not a sales person, and the decision of the Plan Administrator was reversed. The claimant won benefits retroactive to the date that his long term disability benefits would have begun. Hodges v. Life Ins. Co. of North Am
CIGNA’s record of trying to deny benefits is nothing new. The corporate culture of disability claim denial and termination at CIGNA/LINA led to a $77 million settlement in 2013 following investigations by insurance commissioners from Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Maine regarding improper denials of long-term disability claims and wrongfully terminated benefit payments. Read more about the corporate culture below.Ready To Talk?
Submitting a group disability claim to CIGNA is not as simple as logging into the company’s MYCIGNA portal and answering some questions. It is great that CIGNA has a mobile app and a claimant portal, but we caution any disability policy owner to be extremely careful if they chose to go through the application process on their own. The risks are real.
Here are some examples of how CIGNA and LINA have tried to stop paying disability claimants – and why we fight so hard for our clients:
In 2013 following investigations by insurance commissioners from Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Maine regarding improper denials of long-term disability claims and wrongfully terminated benefit payments, CIGNA/LINA had to pay a $77 million settlement.
The settlement also required CIGNA/LINA to improve their claims handling processes and establish a program to review long term disability claims that had been improperly denied or terminated.
Some of the specific allegations against CIGNA/LINA were the following:
These are very serious charges that were proven in a Federal Court.
As a result of its settlement with the numerous insurance departments who investigated these issues, CIGNA/LINA thus agreed to adopt various “enhanced” procedures, including the following:
All long-term disability insurance claimants on claim with CIGNA or LINA should carefully consider whether CIGNA is upholding its obligations under the settlement in its claim handling.
Regardless of when your long-term disability insurance benefits were denied or terminated, you need the skilled guidance of an experienced disability insurance attorney that has represented CIGNA claimants.
Call our office today for a free consultation at 877-LTD-CLAIM (877-583-2524). Frankel & Newfield represents ERISA clients nationwide.
We help claimants with initial claim processing development and submission, representing claimants for both short term disability insurance and long-term disability insurance claims. By being involved at this early stage of the disability claim process, we can help to ensure that our client’s doctors are able to effectively articulate the functional impairments and deficits faced by our clients, to support the claim most strongly.
We also address any requests for physical or psychological examinations during the claim process, or a request for a Functional Capacity Evaluation or interview request.Ready To Talk?
Frankel & Newfield help claimants whose ERISA or non-ERISA claims have been denied or terminated and are required to undertake an ERISA appeal, before they have the ability to pursue litigation against CIGNA.
Our appeal formula for success in overturning a denied or terminated long term disability insurance claim addresses a myriad of issues including medical, vocational, factual and legal.
We create a robust appeal that has a dual audience. First, we submit the appeal for CIGNA, trying to get them to overturn their claim determination by showing them the egregious nature of the process and decision. The second audience is the Federal Judge who may ultimately have to decide your claim if CIGNA does not change their mind upon consideration of the appeal.
ERISA litigation is one of the things we do most effectively for our clients. Frankel & Newfield helps claimants pursue their rights against CIGNA or LINA in Federal Court – and either get resolution to their claims, or closure to their concerns through a settlement.
We have successfully litigated against CIGNA many times and have an intimate knowledge of how CIGNA’s claim handling and ERISA appeals unit works, and its strategies in litigation, to combat CIGNA most effectively in litigation.
If your CIGNA or LINA disability benefits have been denied, call Frankel & Newfield today for a free consultation at 877-LTD-CLAIM (877-583-2524). There is no obligation and the call is free.
Jason Newfield is a founding partner of the disability insurance law firm Frankel & Newfield. He has spent the majority of his legal career advocating for the rights of disabled workers. He has lectured other professionals, worked on a Federal Advisory committee, and published many articles in the field of disability insurance claims and litigation.
FILING A DISABILITY INSURANCE CLAIMSecrets the Disability Insurance Companies Don't Want You to know!
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