At a January meeting between Aetna representatives and one of Atlanta's largest gastroenterology groups, about 50 doctors handed over letters of resignation, threatening to pull out of the insurers' network.
They were protesting a change in Aetna's policy regarding anesthetizing patients undergoing colonoscopies, said Steven J. Morris, MD, managing partner of Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates. "We have an insurance company telling us to change the standard of care," Dr. Morris said. "This is a ridiculous situation."
Aetna is not alone in changing policy. Humana made a similar change last year. WellPoint did the same in June 2006, though spokesman Jim Gavin said, "Our clinical guidelines can be implemented across the country at the option of our health plans," so the rule isn't enforced everywhere.