Cigna will expand its Medicare Advantage health plan offerings to seniors in dozens of new counties next year in what is quickly becoming a competitive business for health insurance giants.
For now, Cigna offers largely individual health maintenance organization (HMO) plans in 260 counties spread across 16 states. But the insurer plans to enter 37 new counties with such HMO offerings for what executives said will be a 14% increase in the company’s Medicare Advantage footprint, pending regulatory approvals.
“We see tremendous growth opportunity in MA, starting in 2020,” Cigna chief executive David Cordani told analysts Thursday on the company’s second quarter earnings call.
Cigna is broadening its offerings as well with less restrictive preferred provider organization (PPO) products. While HMOs generally restrict choices of medical care providers to health plan networks, PPOs can be more popular by allowing choice outside of the network though generally at a greater cost to the health plan enrollee.
Cigna will introduce individual PPO Medicare Advantage plans in 43 counties for 2020, executives said. Cigna wasn’t commenting Thursday on prices or specific details of its “local geographic market plans,” saying they still need final approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Cigna is joining the parade of established health plans and startups looking to take advantage of new rules that allow Medicare Advantage plans to offer more benefits to seniors.
Cigna’s expansion into new Medicare Advantage regions is the latest expansion for such plans, which contract with the federal government to provide extra benefits and services to seniors, such as disease management and nurse help hotlines with some also offering vision, dental care and wellness programs. Several health plans, including Aetna, Anthem, Centene, Humana and UnitedHealth Group are looking to expand their Medicare Advantage businesses next year and beyond as well. And now insurers are rolling out more supplemental benefits in their Medicare Advantage plans following rule changes implemented.
Date: August 5, 2019