A federal judge in Philadelphia entered an order today granting class action status to a case filed by families against Cigna Insurance for allegedly denying claims for Applied Behavior Therapy (ABA), a technique that involves using modern behavioral learning theory to modify overt behaviors to treat autism. The ruling means the case will now be brought on behalf of all persons who filed a claim with CIGNA for ABA therapy for a child having autism spectrum disorder, but no longer have CIGNA insurance, where such claim was denied on the ground that such therapy was allegedly "experimental."

The ruling was made by Honorable Juan Sanchez in the case of Churchill v CIGNA, No. 10-6911 (ED PA). The Court's Memorandum Opinion explained that class action status on behalf of all similarly situated families was appropriate given CIGNA's national policy of denying ABA therapy on the ground that it is "experimental."

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