Logo via Cigna

Cigna Expands its Medicare Advantage Offerings and Benefits While Minimizing Costs to Consumers

Originally Published by Cigna

Cigna is expanding its Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to more states and counties, while minimizing costs to consumers. Consumers will now have more choices during this year’s Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP), including plans in every market that feature a $0 premium and 89 percent of plans that have a $0 copay for primary care physician office visits. In addition, Cigna is maintaining or reducing premiums in 86 percent of its plans nationally compared to last year, and is offering plans that have no out-of-pocket costs for specialist care.

Most Cigna plans also include vision and dental benefits and access to fitness centers and services at no additional cost. For the first time, all Cigna Medicare customers will have access to doctors via telephone, computer, tablet or smart phone for some routine care.

“This is an exciting year for Cigna as we rollout our biggest Medicare Advantage expansion to date with new geographies and new products,” said Brian Evanko, president of Cigna’s Government Business. “Even with this growth, our focus remains on providing customers with timely access to affordable care. One tangible example is the introduction this year of a $0 copay in some HMO plans for customers to see a specialist, lowering yet another barrier to people getting the care they need.”

This year, Cigna is launching its first-ever MA PPO plans in 43 counties, including counties in Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. These plans typically provide customers a broader network of health care professionals.

Additionally, Cigna is expanding its well-established HMO model to 37 counties, including counties in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina and South Carolina. These types of plans feature tight collaboration with primary care physicians, typically enabled by technology and data sharing between Cigna and the health care professional.

Cigna is offering both types of plans in the Denver area, including Boulder. These are the company’s first-ever Medicare plans in the state of Colorado.

“We’ve chosen expansion markets very purposefully, selecting those areas where we are confident we can be successful because of our strong reputation and the strength of our relationships with doctors and hospitals,” Evanko said. “We look forward to entering these markets with very attractive products from the start and growing our customer relationships deliberately over time.”

Cigna PPO plans, and some HMO plans, include an allowance for customers to use for preventive or comprehensive, non-cosmetic dental services at the licensed provider of their choice.

Additionally, Cigna is introducing benefits in select plans to address social determinants of health, including the following:

  • An air conditioner allowance in some Texas plans
  • A fall prevention program in some Mississippi and Kansas plans
  • An adult day care allowance in New Jersey plans
  • An acupuncture allowance on all PPO plans and Colorado HMO plans
  • A patient attendant to medical appointments in some Pennsylvania and Maryland plans
  • An expanded transportation benefit, including trips to places of worship, grocery stores, etc., in some Arizona and Pennsylvania plans

“We are excited about these pilots and we’re eager to learn from these programs and see where we can make a real, tangible difference in people’s lives,” said Evanko.

A Medicare Advantage plan generally provides additional benefits beyond what Medicare traditionally offers.

Cigna offers Medicare Advantage plans in 18 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and the District of Columbia.

The company also offers six standalone prescription drug plans (PDPs) this year in all states, including three branded Cigna-HealthSpring and three branded Express Scripts, providing cost and benefit options for all customer needs.

Cigna’s Secure plan is qualified to serve customers with a low-income subsidy in 29 regions in 2020, which is up from 18 regions last year. This plan includes a $0 copay tier for some generic medications. Cigna’s other plans, Essential and Secure, are maintaining stable premiums compared to last year. Additionally, the Extra Plan has reduced the insulin medication Tier 6 copay from $6 to $2 in all regions. And all plans have a $0 copay for 90-day prescriptions on Tier 1 medications purchased through home delivery.

Medicare’s Annual Election Period begins Oct. 15 and continues through Dec. 7. Health benefit plans purchased during AEP are effective Jan. 1, 2020.

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