Cigna tees up largest MA expansion ever for 2020 plan year

A sign at the front of Cigna's headquarters
Cigna has unveiled its Medicare Advantage plans for 2020. (Cigna)

Cigna is launching its largest Medicare Advantage (MA) expansion to date for 2020, including new geographic regions, products and benefits targeting the social determinants of health. 

With MA open enrollment set to begin Oct. 15, Cigna announced it will launch its first MA PPO plans in 43 counties across eight states. It will also offer its existing HMO plans in 37 additional counties in nine states. 

The insurer said it will make both plans available in the Denver area, its first foray into the state with MA. 

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In total, Cigna’s 2020 MA geographic footprint will include 80 counties across 17 states. Brian Evanko, president of Cigna’s government business, told FierceHealthcare growth in MA is a key element of the insurers’ long-term plans for growth. 

“It’s a big step in that direction,” Evanko said. 

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Evanko said that Cigna’s broad geographic reach in other business sectors offers plenty of room for its MA footprint to grow. There are plan offerings in each market with a $0 premium, and 89% of 2020 plans offer a $0 copay on primary care visits, Cigna said. 

Alongside the expanded plan offerings, Cigna announced that it will be testing new supplemental benefits targeting the social determinants of health for 2020. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services finalized a rule earlier this year that allows MA plans to offer coverage for benefits targeting chronic care management, such as air quality tools for members with asthma. 

Evanko said Cigna has in the past offered coverage for transportation and meals across business lines, finding success with, for example, a program that offered 14 days of meals after hospital discharge. 

For 2020, Cigna will pilot an air conditioner allowance in some of its Texas plans, a fall prevention program for some Mississippi and Kansas beneficiaries, adult day care in New Jersey and will offer a patient attendant for medical visits in some Pennsylvania and Maryland plans. 

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In addition, Cigna intends to offer an acupuncture allowance in all its HMO plans and its PPO plans in Colorado and will test an expanded transportation benefit with some beneficiaries in Pennsylvania and Arizona that would include rides to the grocery store, church services and other nonmedical trips in addition to doctor visits and other rides for healthcare needs. 

Evanko said the insurer selects supplemental benefit options based on member feedback and uses tests in certain markets as a barometer for benefits that may be beneficial to a broader group of members. 

Some pilots build on existing offerings—such as the new transportation benefit, which also plays into ongoing work at Cigna to combat patient loneliness. 

“We do this on a market by market basis to get the learning before we extrapolate it,” he said. 

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