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Life Health > Life Insurance

Aetna Sued for Axing Woman's Long-Term Disability Policy

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A Connecticut woman has filed a lawsuit against Aetna Inc. claiming the life insurance company violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when it ended her long-term disability insurance policy after she was diagnosed with a degenerative disease.

The four-page lawsuit in DiCocco v. Aetna Life Insurance was filed March 11 in Milford Superior Court but was moved to U.S. District Court in Bridgeport April 6 at the request of Hartford-based Aetna.

— (Related on ThinkAdvisor: U.S. disability programs need a work requirement)

In her lawsuit, Theresa A. DiCocco claimed she was covered by Aetna’s long-term disability insurance policy when she began working for People’s United Bank in 2008. DiCocco was later diagnosed with degenerative disc disease while working for the bank.

It’s not clear when DiCocco got the disease, but the lawsuit said Aetna paid benefits for two years. Aetna eventually “issued a termination and denial of benefits despite the fact that the plaintiff was totally disabled and met the eligibility requirements of the plan,” according to the lawsuit. DiCocco appealed to Aetna, but the company upheld the denial of benefits.

The lawsuit does not specify how much the policy was worth, how much DiCocco received for the two years or how much she is due.

The lawsuit asked Judge Victor A. Bolden “to require Aetna Life Insurance Company to pay all benefits due under the plan” and for the life insurance company to pay for the cost of the lawsuit and attorney fees.

Michael J. McCabe of the Milford-based McCabe, Wikstrom & Barney represents DiCocco. McCabe declined to comment Monday.

Aetna is represented by Dean R. Singewald II of Stamford-based Epstein Becker & Green. Singewald was not available for comment Monday.

— Read Obama administration revamps group disability claim rules on ThinkAdvisor.


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