BLOOMFIELD, Conn. (AP) -- Health insurer Cigna Corp. said Tuesday it will coordinate coverage for Illinois residents who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid as part of a three-year contract.
Cigna's HealthSpring unit will be one of six health insurance companies participating in a project for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. The companies will try to reduce costs by coordinating Medicare and Medicaid programs for about 118,000 people in six counties in the Chicago area. Cigna said HealthSpring has done business in the Chicago area since January 2005.
Medicare is a federal program that serves the elderly and disabled, and Medicaid is state-run and provides coverage for the poor though state and federal funding. Medicare generally pays for doctor and hospital visits and prescription drugs, while Medicaid typically helps pay for long-term care, such as nursing homes, among other services. The two programs operate independently of each other for the most part, and the lack of coordination between the programs means "dual eligible" members generate outsize expenses.
As a result, government agencies have been looking for ways to better coordinate their care and reduce spending. Humana Inc. announced Monday that it would also participate in the project for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
Cigna bought HealthSpring for $3.8 billion in January.