Cigna to sell ACA exchange plans in 80 new counties

Cigna Corp. will sell individual plans through the Affordable Care Act marketplace in 80 new counties next year, the health insurer said Wednesday.

The expansion, which is limited to the 10 states where Cigna already sells ACA individual coverage, extends its marketplace footprint to more than 300 counties. The plans will feature no-cost virtual care and a cap on insulin costs at $25 per month for a 30-day supply. Coverage featuring acupuncture benefits and $0 diabetes equipment and supplies will be available in some counties, the company said.

Cigna’s expansion follows those announced by UnitedHealthcare and Oscar Health. UnitedHealthcare, which largely pulled out of the exchanges in 2017, is dipping a toe back into the exchanges with applications to sell plans in Maryland and Tennessee. Oscar, meanwhile, announced a major expansion to 19 states, including four new states and 19 new markets next year.

The moves come at a time when insurers are losing employer-sponsored plan members because of widespread job losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of Cigna’s 17 million members—nearly 12 million— have coverage through a self-insured employer than contracts with Cigna for administrative services, making the insurer vulnerable to the economic downturn. In contrast, Cigna served about 245,000 members on the ACA exchanges at June 30.

Researchers expect most of the people who lose job-based coverage to flock to Medicaid, but enrollment in the ACA exchanges could tick up as well. The Urban Institute projected that because of the pandemic, 7.3 million fewer people would have employer-based coverage and 4.3 million people would enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The ACA-compliant individual market would experience a net enrollment increase of just 200,000.

Cigna said its ACA exchange expansion would increase its customer reach in that market by 27%. The 10 states where it sells ACA plans include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia.


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