- Cigna plans to expand its products in the Affordable Care Act marketplace to three new states and 93 new counties in 2022, as COVID-19 continues to drive increased payer investment in government products.
- During the upcoming enrollment period beginning Nov. 1, Cigna health plans will be available to consumers shopping in the exchanges set up by the ACA in Georgia, Mississippi and Pennsylvania, along with additional counties in Arizona, Florida and Virginia, the payer said Thursday.
- The expansion, which is pending regulatory approval, brings Cigna's exchange footprint to 313 counties across 13 states. Bloomfield, Connecticut-based Cigna will have the ability to reach roughly 1.5 million consumers in new markets, according to a company statement.
There's been rising interest from insurers in the ACA exchanges, as the number of Americans covered in job-based insurance shrunk last year during the COVID-19 economic recession. Cigna is one of several payers that has benefited from the special enrollment period set up to help those who had lost their jobs — and, subsequently, their insurance coverage — during the coronavirus pandemic.
The SEP for consumers to sign up for coverage under the ACA began Feb. 15 and was originally supposed to end May 15, before the Biden administration extended the deadline to Aug. 15.
As of mid-July, more than 2 million Americans had signed up for coverage during the SEP.
Cigna's individual business, which includes ACA plans, covered some 348,000 members at the end of the second quarter, up 24% from the same time last year and up 35% from the beginning of 2021.
With the expansion announced Thursday, Cigna will now sell individual and family plans in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia.
The plans include zero cost-sharing on benefits to address chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes, along with free virtual wellness screenings with MDLive physicians via video. Cigna's health services segment, Evernorth, acquired the fast-growing telehealth vendor in a deal completed in April.
But despite the growth in government products and beating Wall Street expectations for revenue and earnings in the second quarter, a higher-than-expected medical loss ratio of 85.4%, compared to one of 70.5% at the same time last year, has pressured Cigna's shares in August.
The insurer's stock fell 8% from Aug. 1 through Wednesday's close.
That trend was seen across most major U.S. payers, as patients returning for deferred care in the second quarter drove medical cost ratios up and net incomes down significantly year over year. Humana, UnitedHealth, Molina, Anthem and Cigna all reported net income down significantly year over year, by 67%, 35%, 33%, 22% and 16%, respectively.