Cigna Corporation recently announced its largest Medicare Advantage plan expansion to date with offerings now across 23 states.
The Nashville-based global health service company said in a statement that during the 2021 Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP), beginning October 15, the majority of customers will see a reduced or same premium, with a $0 premium plan available in every market and virtual care offered at no cost.
To help seniors access care from the safety and comfort of their homes, Cigna is offering telehealth services to all MA customers, including no-cost access to behavioral health providers via audio and video. For the first time, Cigna also is adding virtual physical therapy services to its MA plans. This new feature is an addition to 2021 plans to help customers gain strength and/or recover from less complex procedures at home.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a significant change in how people want to receive care and these patterns vary based on regions of the country and individual preferences. We’re offering our customers more options than ever before, so they can seek affordable, high-quality care in a way that meets their lifestyle – whether that’s in-person, over the phone or virtually,” said Brian Evanko, president of Cigna’s government business.
Medicare Advantage provides additional benefits beyond what Medicare traditionally offers. In most of its MA plans for 2021, Cigna includes vision, dental, fitness, and discharge meal benefits along with an allowance on common over-the-counter products, like aspirin, adhesive bandages, and dental care products.
Cigna is also offering benefits associated with social determinants of its customers’ health, addressing key factors like transportation and nutrition. In select markets in 2021, the company is adding Healthy Benefits Plus, a new program making it easier for customers to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables through a produce card with a monthly allowance of up to $30.
Reaching more communities
In 2021, Cigna said it will offer plans in 369 counties spanning 23 states, representing a 22% increase in the company’s county footprint.
Cigna is expanding to 67 new counties for 2021, including a broad portfolio of HMO and/or PPO plans. In addition to the new county expansion, Cigna is expanding PPO offerings in 154 counties in its existing footprint. PPOs typically offer an out-of-network benefit, while HMO plans generally do not.
Cigna will enter markets in five new states in 2021 with MA plans:
- Ohio (Cleveland area)
- Virginia (Tri-Cities area in the southwest part of the state)
- Oklahoma (Oklahoma City area)
- Utah (Salt Lake City area)
- New Mexico (Albuquerque area)
This expansion builds upon Cigna’s 2020 footprint, which currently serves more than 500,000 MA customers across 18 states and the District of Columbia. The 2020 footprint includes 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.
Driving better health care outcomes
To accommodate the expansion, Cigna said it has significantly increased its network, adding more than 25,000 physicians throughout its service territory. Physician collaboration is an important part of the Cigna MA model, with more than 85% of its customers cared for by doctors who are in a value-based arrangement. Value-based care increases coordination, emphasizes preventive care and generally results in better health outcomes and greater patient satisfaction, the company said. Additionally, Cigna continues to offer a Dual Special Needs Plan in many geographies that coordinates care for people who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid.
Increased consumer choice
The company offers six standalone Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) for 2021 in all states, including three branded Cigna and three branded Express Scripts, providing cost savings and benefit options for all customer needs.
The Cigna Secure Rx and Express Scripts Medicare – Value plans are collectively qualified for CMS low-income subsidy auto-enrollment in 33 regions in 2021. The Secure and Value plans offer $0 copays (Tier 6) and $1 copays (Tier 1) for medications purchased at preferred pharmacies, and will offer $0 copays (Tier 6) for select insulins at preferred pharmacies.
All six plans have $0 copay options for select medications purchased through preferred mail order.
Additionally, the Cigna Secure-Extra Rx plan and Express Scripts Medicare – Saver and Express Scripts Medicare – Choice plans will participate in the CMS Part D Senior Savings Model, helping Medicare customers manage diabetes with affordable and predictable insulin copays of $35 or less.
Cigna also offers Medicare Supplement plans in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Medicare Supplement insurance helps pay for what Original Medicare doesn’t cover, including copayments, coinsurance and deductibles.
Medicare’s AEP begins October 15 and continues through December 7. Plans selected during AEP are effective January 1, 2021.
For more details about Cigna’s Medicare Advantage plans, visit www.Cigna.com/Medicare.