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Cigna (CI) Enhances Offerings in the Individual Exchange

Zacks Equity Research
·4 mins read

Cigna Corporation CI recently announced that it is improving offerings with newer features on the individual exchange, which is also referred to as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace.

Individuals, who are interested in getting health coverage on the individual exchange, can do so during the 2021 Open Enrollment Period (OEP). The health plans purchased during OEP, which will run from Nov 1 to Dec 15, will be effective from Jan 1 of next year.

However, it has also to be taken into account that Colorado people will get the same OEP till Jan 15 of next year, during which they can enroll in a health plan on the individual exchange.

This time, Cigna has not only waived certain ‘out-of-pocket’ costs for its enhanced offerings but also came forward with improved features of the health plans. Notably, specific health plans will not only be providing access to telehealth services at no cost but also include a new diabetes care plan that can be accessed in most counties. It will even cover holistic services such as acupuncture in specific counties.

These enhanced health plans, in fact, underline Cigna’s constant efforts to pave the way for more affordable and accessible quality health care across the United States, particularly at a time when the entire nation is grappling with financial and health woes induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The health plans will also entail inclusion of the Patient Assurance Program added last year and a customer loyalty program available in most markets, which is intended to reward healthy lifestyle activities.

Coming back to the company’s latest move, these health plans can be accessed in 80 new counties in the next year. The increased accessibility is likely to bolster Cigna’s reach to customers by 27%.

It has to be noted that the company already boasts of a strong presence since the launch of individual exchanges back in 2014. Thereby, the abovementioned move will most probably strengthen Cigna’s presence in the individual exchanges, where it has been consistently devising health plans with aid of physician partners across the United States.

Moreover, Cigna has also laid down plans for providing individual and family plans next year on the individual exchanges spanning across more than 300 counties coming under 10 states — Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia.

Next year plans also indicate the healthcare provider’s intention to engage in smarter digital interactions with customers, who can use the myCigna mobile app and Cigna One Guide to not only determine best sites of care and health tools but also get hold of cost-effective and high quality providers.

Shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) healthcare provider have gained 7.5% in a year compared with the industry’s rally of 20%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Moreover, Cigna has extended contracts and teamed up with several healthcare systems for bolstering its partner networks. It has eliminated certain ‘out-of-pocket’ costs required for the treatment of its clients, who are severely hit by the pandemic. The healthcare provider has also been intent on enhancing its telehealth services suite, which has been witnessing a surge in demand triggered by the pandemic. This is likely to position the healthcare provider well for long-term growth.

Among other stocks in the medical space, Teladoc Health Inc. TDOC is a niche player in the telehealth service industry with wide offerings and international reach. Other companies, namely Magellan Health, Inc. MGLN and Humana Inc. HUM have also developed telehealth services.

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