UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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Cigna was founded in 1792 as The Insurance Company of North America, originally to protect marine vessels from the many dangers of crossing the oceans – including piracy. Their early plans included protection for captains of those vessels, with a benefit offered if they were captured by pirates.
A less colorful part of Cigna’s history, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, was founded in 1865. By 1919 they were writing health insurance and grew as a separate company until 1981 when the two merged to officially create Cigna. In 1983 they established a new company headquarters in Philadelphia.
The 2012 acquisition of Health Spring brought Cigna heavily into the senior healthcare market. They added Medicare products including Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. In spite of a 2016 suspension of new enrollment in Cigna’s Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, the company resumed writing new business in that market in 2017.
Also in 2017, Cigna’s huge proposed merger with Anthem was called off following a court ruling against the joining of the companies. Cigna moved forward a year later to a planned merger with prescription provider Express Scripts. That merger remains in progress at the time of this review.
Cigna ranked at #73 on the Fortune 500 list for 2018, making them one of the biggest companies in the country and one of the most powerful insurance companies.
Cigna Medicare Products
Cigna writes Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and Part D plans, covering all of the Medicare bases. Not all plans are available in all states, however, and our usual sample state of California did not have any plans offered for Advantage or Supplement – only Part D. We were unable to find a list of which plans are offered in which states.
In order to cover all of the bases, we used information from Pennsylvania, where all of the options are available and Cigna has its headquarters. Plan information will vary in different states and varies even by county, so check your area to see which options are offered.
There are seven different Advantage plans available in Pennsylvania, all of which are HMO plans. Of those options, two are zero-premium and the rest have varying levels of cost and coverage.
Cigna HealthSpring Advantage is the first of the zero-premium plans, with a $0 primary care copay and a $40 specialist copay. This plan has a $55 urgent care copay and an $80 emergency room copay. It does not include prescription coverage, but it does include vision and hearing benefits.
The Preventative Care plan has a $10 primary care copay and a $50 specialist copay, and it is also a zero-premium plan. Copays for urgent care and emergency care are the same as the Advantage plan. This plan does include prescription coverage starting at $1 for Tier 1 with a $310 deductible for tiers 3 and up, and it includes both vision and hearing benefits as well.
The Preferred plan is similar to the Advantage plan, with the same copays, but it does include prescription coverage. There is a $280 prescription deductible that applies to tiers 3 and up.
The Traditions plan has a $0 copay for primary care and a 15% coinsurance for specialist care. Urgent care also has a $0 copay, while emergency care has an $80 copay. This plan includes dental, vision, and hearing benefits. Prescriptions are covered with standard Part D cost-sharing.
The Total Care plan has a 20% coinsurance for primary care and a $50 copay for a specialist. Urgent care is covered with a 20% coinsurance up to $65 and the usual $80 for an emergency. Like Traditions, it includes dental, hearing, vision, and prescription benefits.
The Achieve plan has the same copays as Advantage and offers dental, hearing, vision, and prescription drug benefits as well. There is a $280 prescription deductible that applies to tiers 3, 4, and 5.
Preferred Plus is the final plan option and has the same coverage as the Preferred plan. Dental, hearing, vision, and prescription coverage are all included.
There are two Part D Secure Rx plans listed for our sample area.
The first has a lower premium but a $450 annual deductible, while the second has a higher premium but no deductible. The deductible plan has slightly lower copays with some Tier 1 drugs at a $0 copay.
The zero deductible plan starts at $4 copays for Tier 1. Both plans have gap coverage and out of pocket limits. Rates vary by in and out of network pharmacy choice.
Cigna offers a good selection of Medicare Supplement plans. In addition to the basic Plan A, which all Supplement companies are required to offer, they also write (in our sample area) plans B, C, D, F, G, and N as well as the high deductible version of N.
Plan A covers coinsurance amounts for medical, hospital, and hospice care as well as the first three pints of blood each year. Each plan thereafter adds additional coverage up to Plan F, which pays all out of pocket expenses not covered by Medicare. This plan has a high deductible option to make it more affordable.
Overall, Cigna has a good range of supplement plans, with seven of the eleven options available in our sample area.
Cigna makes their Medicare Advantage rates easy to find, listing them right along with the plan descriptions. As noted above, there are two plans that have no additional premium beyond the regular Medicare Part B plan.
The most expensive plan is the Preferred Plus, at $139 a month. The next most expensive is Achieve at $58, and the rest fall in the $20-40 a month range.
Rates for the Part D plans are similarly listed right on the page, at $37.70 for the deductible plan and $55.10 for the no-deductible plan.
Rates can be obtained for Supplement plans but are not readily available, and require a form including personal information to get a quote.
Since we quoted these in Pennsylvania and not our usual sample comparison state, we are unable to offer a direct rate comparison. That said, there is a good range of plan options at a variety of price points here, and most of the plans seem reasonably priced.
Cigna, like most health insurance companies, does not have much in the way of claims information on their website.
They do offer a claims reimbursement form for download that customers can use when out of pocket expenses need to be reimbursed, which is not frequent since medical claims are usually handled directly with providers.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Cigna has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). There are 442 complaints on file in the past three years; these complaints include all of Cigna’s business including individual and group health plans. Given the size of this company, this is not a high complaint volume.
The National Committee for Quality Assurance lists each individual Cigna branch by state in its ratings, resulting in a wide range of different rankings. These rankings range from a 2.0 overall to a 4.0 overall depending on the state. Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire branches all rank at the top with 4.0 overall. These rankings are for the entire company; for Medicare, rankings get a little more complex. Here the HealthSpring name is still used, along with other branded names, which can cause some confusion. Only one branch received a 4.0 ranking for Medicare specifically.
Cigna has Medicare star ratings of 3.5 for Part C, 3 for Part D, and 4 overall. That puts them somewhere in the middle for major Medicare Advantage providers.
We found 47 reviews of Cigna Medicare on Consumer Affairs. The reviews are fairly positive, with a nearly 4-star ranking overall. Most reviewers appear to have had a very positive experience with Cigna’s Medicare plans and report easy handling of payments and good customer service.
The Bottom Line
In spite of some bumps in the road, Cigna appears to be on track in terms of serving its customers. The 2016 suspension issue has been resolved, although it may still make some new customers hesitate. Reviews trend towards the positive and they have a lot of plan options with reasonable prices. This, of course, depends greatly on where you live, so Cigna may or may not be a good choice for you based on the rates and choice offered in your area.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.