Cigna, Oscar Health expanding reach of co-branded plans in California

Cigna and Oscar Health are expanding access to their co-branded health plan to more regions in California.

When the two insurers unveiled their Cigna + Oscar plans—which target small businesses—last summer, the plans were initially available in Atlanta, Tennessee and select California counties, namely the San Francisco bay area.

The plan's reach will grow to include the Bay Area, Central Coast, Greater Sacramento, Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Orange County, North Bay, and San Diego regions, the companies announced Thursday.

“Small businesses are the heart of the economy, and of their local communities. Now more than ever, they need affordable health insurance that works for them and their employees,” said Bruce Grimm, Cigna's senior vice president of segments, in a statement. 

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“Cigna + Oscar brings together Cigna's nationwide and local provider networks, and Oscar’s member-focused experience, to deliver small group health insurance for the unique needs of small businesses. We are excited to bring this innovative partnership to California to help small businesses prioritize their employees’ health needs," Grimm said.

The plans are built around Cigna's provider network and Oscar's stack of tech and consumer-centric platforms. Small businesses will also have access to Express Scripts' pharmacy benefit management services.

Cigna and Oscar share risk equally through a reinsurance agreement.

Cigna + Oscar surveyed businesses with between 1 and 100 employees in California and found that under the pandemic their focus on employee wellness has grown. Most (88%) said they are prioritizing workers' health and 66% said that health coverage is a more important budget item for them post-COVID.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all, especially small businesses, in ways that no one could have imagined,” said Louis DeStefano, head of the small group business and senior vice president of growth at Oscar, in a statement. “Cigna + Oscar provides a solution for the unique challenges that small businesses face by offering a variety of services that meet their employees’ health needs, and at a cost that helps make it possible to keep their doors open.”