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Class Lawsuit Alleges Cigna Discriminates by Excluding Obesity Drugs

Nation's First Lawsuit Asserting that the Affordable Care Act Forbids Exclusion of Obesity Treatment

PORTLAND, OR, June 05, 2024 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Today, Plaintiff Jamie Whittemore filed the first lawsuit in the country alleging that a health plan's exclusion of coverage for prescription medications to treat obesity violates the Affordable Care Act's anti-discrimination law. Ms. Whittemore argues that Cigna Health and Life Insurance, Inc. ("Cigna") discriminates when it excludes medically necessary prescription drugs to treat her disability which is obesity.

"Cigna's exclusion of medications to treat obesity is discrimination, plain and simple," said Eleanor Hamburger of Sirianni Youtz Spoonemore Hamburger, one of the lawyers representing Ms. Whittemore. "Other Cigna enrollees can access the prescription drug coverage that they need, while enrollees who are diagnosed with obesity have no coverage for proven, medically-effective treatment for their disability. Different treatment based on disability is illegal."

"I deserve coverage of prescription drugs to treat my medical condition, just like everyone else," said Ms. Whittemore. "Leaving my obesity untreated puts me at risk for other medical problems and negatively impacts my health and wellbeing."

"We have strong anti-discrimination laws on the books, but companies like Cigna ignore them when it comes to treatment for obesity," said Jeffrey Young of Solidarity Law, who also represents Ms. Whittemore. "Excluding effective prescription drugs for obesity makes no sense legally, medically or financially."

Ms. Whittemore works for the University of Maine System which provides her health coverage as administered by Cigna. When Ms. Whittemore's doctor prescribed Zepbound to treat her diagnosis of obesity, Cigna denied coverage. Cigna claimed that Whittemore's health plan does not cover any prescription drugs to treat obesity, even though Cigna generally covers prescription medications and considers Zepbound to be medically necessary to treat obesity.

The lawsuit is filed on behalf of a nationwide class of Cigna enrollees diagnosed with obesity by three law firms: Sirianni Youtz Spoonemore Hamburger PLLC in Seattle, Washington, Nichols Kaster, PLLP in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Solidarity Law, PLLC in Cumberland Foreside, Maine. A copy of the Complaint can be found at

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