CIGNA Wrongfully Terminates Long-Time Purdue Employee’s Disability Benefits

Working as a Purchasing Agent for Purdue University for over 40 year, Dennis H. found he could no longer perform his job duties due to debilitating pain caused by osteoarthritis, right cervicalgia, tremors in his head that caused pain, and lumbar radiculopathy.  These medical conditions cause pain or significant discomfort in his neck, especially at the back and along the sides of his neck. Lumbar radiculopathy results from a nerve in the lower back that is pinched or irritated.  Dennis sought relief through many forms of treatment including epidural steroid injections, without success.  He even tried radiofrequency ablation, which burns off the troubling nerve, in order to improve his neck and back function, reduce his pain medications, and to avoid surgery but unfortunately he received very little relief from the ablation.

When he was unable to continue working, Dennis filed a claim for long term disability benefits provided by Purdue’s employee benefit plan and insured by Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”), a subsidiary of Cigna.  Cigna is a global health service company with 95 million customers around the world.  Cigna is a major provider of health-related products and services, the majority of which are offered through employers and other groups. Cigna is the long term disability insurance company for Purdue employees.

Cigna approved Dennis’ claim and paid his benefits from October 2017 through August 2018, when they were abruptly terminated by Cigna without any improvement in his medical condition. While he was receiving Cigna disability benefits, Purdue also provided him with medical coverage and life insurance coverage. When Cigna wrongfully terminated the disability benefits, these other critical benefits were also terminated.

Despite significant supportive medical records and strong statements from his treating physicians in support of his claim, LINA terminated Dennis’ claim based on a medical records review by a Cigna Nurse Case Manager and a Cigna Senior Claim Manager.  Neither the Cigna Nurse Case Manager nor the Claim Manager have ever met or examined Dennis.

Dennis’ physicians stated that “he cannot work, he is unable to look up, down and side to side for longer than a couple of minutes.  Has head tremors in his head causing pain.”  Also, “he cannot perform any job functions due to limited motion, pain and tremors. Will not be returning to work.”

After his claim was terminated, Dennis hired O’Ryan Law Firm to represent him to appeal the wrongful termination of his Cigna disability benefits claim.  We helped Dennis gather substantial additional supportive medical evidence, including strong supportive statements from his treating physicians, and compiled an appeal contesting the termination of benefits. Unfortunately, LINA refused to reinstate his benefits, compelling Dennis to initiate litigation to recover the amount due him under the terms of his disability policy.

If you are a disabled Purdue employee and have been denied disability benefits by Cigna or if Cigna has terminated your benefits without any improvement in your medical condition, please contact the O’Ryan Law Firm for a free consultation.