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Real Emergency Physicians Take Aim at Cigna’s TV Doctors Ad

The American College of Emergency Physicians today responded to Cigna Insurance Company’s multi-million dollar ad campaign starring famous “TV doctors” with a video of its own, starring real-life emergency physicians.

“We are poking fun at Cigna to highlight a serious issue: the lack of fair coverage for value in emergency medical care,” said ACEP’s president, Rebecca Parker, MD, FACEP. “Many people don’t realize how little insurance coverage they have until they visit the ER, and then they are shocked at how little their insurance company pays.”

“The $9 million Cigna spent on an ad starring well-loved actors playing physicians would have been better spent on patients,” said Parker. “Emergency physicians fight hard for their patients who are bearing an increasingly large share of the burden for their medical care.”

ACEP’s video closely parodies the script of the Cigna video, but emphasizes the life-saving care emergency physicians provide to nearly 140 million patients every year, much of which remains uncompensated.  In recent years, the insurance industry has raised deductibles and premiums and narrowed networks while increasing their profits, shifting the burden to patients and the physicians who treat them.

“Cigna, and others like them, are exploiting federal law [EMTALA] to reduce coverage for emergency care knowing emergency departments have a federal mandate to care for all patients, regardless of their ability to pay,” said Dr. Parker. “We encourage all patients to investigate what their health insurance policy covers and demand fair and reasonable coverage for emergency care. Emergency physicians are there for their patients 24 hours a day, every day of the year.  We can’t say the same for the insurance industry.”

The video stars Dr. Sudip Bose of Chicago, Ill; Dr. Alison Haddock of Houston, Texas; ACEP’s immediate past-president Dr. Jay Kaplan of New Orleans, La.; Dr. Ryan Stanton of Lexington, Ky.; and Dr. Jose Torradas of Stockton, Calif.  They were not compensated for appearing in the video.

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ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine.

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