Cigna is one of the nation’s largest and oldest health insurers with a global presence. Cigna’s scale extends to Medicare Advantage, where it is one of the top ten plans by membership. It offers a range of Medicare plans, with national coverage for Prescription Drug Plans and near national coverage for Medigap plans. However, Cigna’s Medicare Advantage plans are only available in 16 states. Cigna plans range in price, but tend not to be the lowest.
- Pros & Cons
- Key Takeaways
- Company Overview
24/7 access to telehealth
Several types of Special Needs Plans
Robust support for people with complex needs
Lots of member services available online or on the myCigna app
Prices can be higher
Average quality ratings are fairly high, but few plans get top scores
- Cigna is a large, global company with a long history and solid foundation.
- It offers Medicare Prescription Drug Plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medicap) Plans in virtually every state, but Medicare Advantage in just 16.
- Cigna offers three types of Special Needs Plans, more than many competitors.
- Monthly premiums and deductibles may be competitive, but out-of-pocket maximums may be on the high side.
- Cigna emphasizes medical and behavioral health support for members with complex health needs and offers a range of extra benefits to support its Medicare members.
Cigna ranked number 13 on the 2020 Fortune 500 list, up 52 spots from last year. Modern-day Cigna was formed when INA and Connecticut General merged and began offering health insurance under the Cigna name. Cigna operates globally, with 17 million medical coverage customers in more than 30 countries.
Cigna is the eighth-largest U.S. health insurer with $29 billion in premium revenue and 2.7% of overall market share, and the sixth-largest Medicare Advantage plan (known as Cigna-HealthSpring). According to company financial statements, Cigna had 523,000 Medicare Advantage members and 3.3 million Prescription Drug Plan members as of September 30, 2020.
Cigna offers Medicare Advantage plans in 16 states and Washington, D.C, and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans in all 50 states. Cigna’s Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans are available in every state but Massachusetts and New York.
- Year Founded 1792
- Kinds of Plans Medicare Advantage HMO and PPO Plans; Stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans (PDP); Dual-eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNP); Chronic Condition Special Needs Plans (C-SNP); Institutional Special Needs Plans (I-SNP); Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) Plans
- Number of Plans 6
- Payment Options Pay Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug Plan premiums online, with automatic payments, by check or money order via mail, or via automatic deduction from Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefit checks. You can also pay Prescription Drug Plan premiums by phone. For Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) premiums, pay via automatic payments or by mail.
- Customer Service Telephone, mail, online, or via the myCigna app
- Phone Numbers Medicare Advantage Plans Prospective Members: (855) 984-1401; Prospective Members in Arizona: (855) 298-4384; Current Medicare Advantage Members: (800) 668-3812; Current Medicare Advantage Members in Arizona: (800) 627-7534; Prescription Drug Plans Prospective Members: (855) 391-2556; Current Prescription Drug Plan Members: (800) 222-6700; Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) Plans Prospective Members: (888) 482-6557; Current Medigap Members: (866) 459-4272
- Official Website www.cigna.com/medicare/
- 24/7 access to telehealth: Cigna Medicare Advantage members can consult with doctors at any time via MDLive.
- Several types of Special Needs Plans: Cigna offers Dual-eligible Special Needs Plans for people who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. They also offer Chronic Condition Special Needs Plans and Institutional Special Needs Plans, which not as many insurers offer.
- Robust support for people with complex needs: Cigna emphasizes their case management, medication management, and behavioral health services designed for members with complex health needs.
- Lots of member services available online or on the myCigna app: Behind a member log in are features like member ID cards, claims information, provider information, and program details.
- Prices can be higher: Though many Cigna plans have low or no premiums, they may have higher out-of-pocket maximums. Members who are likely to use a lot of services may wind up paying more out-of-pocket.
- Average quality ratings are fairly high, but few plans get top scores: Only one Cigna plan scored a 5.0 out of 5.0 in CMS Star Ratings, and many plans scored 3.0 or 3.5.
Medicare Advantage Plans
Cigna offers several types of Medicare Advantage plans, including HMO, PPO, and Special Needs plans. Some Cigna plans include prescription drug coverage and extra coverage like dental and vision. For members who choose prescription drug coverage, pharmacists work with doctors, specialists, and case managers to help coordinate care. Members can access their ID cards, provider information, claims history, and benefit details online. Cigna also offers 24/7 telehealth services for members who need to consult a doctor for minor medical issues and provide access to behavioral health support for depression, anxiety, and substance use.
HMO plans typically require members to have a primary care provider (PCP) who helps coordinate care and acts as a gatekeeper to other health care services. For 2021, Cigna offers 667 Medicare Advantage local HMO plans with prescription drug coverage and 196 HMO plans without prescription coverage.
PPO plans tend to offer more flexibility in seeing out-of-network providers than the other Medicare Advantage plans. For 2021, Cigna offers 258 local PPO plans with prescription drug coverage and 5 without.
Special Needs Plans (SNP)
Special Needs Plans (SNP) are for Medicare enrollees who have specific conditions and offer the benefits of Medicare Advantage, including prescription drug coverage, plus additional services and programs designed for members with special needs. Cigna offers three types of Special Needs Plans (SNPs), including Dual-eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs) for people with both Medicare and Medicaid, Chronic Condition Special Needs Plans (C-SNP) for members with diabetes, and Institutional Special Needs Plans (I-SNPs) for people who live in long-term facilities or need the type of care usually delivered by a nursing home.
Cigna SNPs offer care management services to help members manage chronic conditions; interdisciplinary care teams help members coordinate care across health care providers. Each member gets an individualized care plan based on their specific risks, needs, and goals. SNP members may also get extra support when they transition from one kind of care to another, like when they move from the hospital to a skilled nursing facility.
Stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans
Stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) cover medications that fall into the Medicare coverage gap, but do not offer any medical coverage or other benefits. These plans work alongside Original Medicare Parts A and B, and Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans.
There are three types of Cigna PDPs, including:
- Rx Secure: Basic coverage with low monthly premiums, copayments, and costs on many generic drugs and insulin, ideal for people who qualify for Medicare’s Extra Help program
- Rx Secure-Essential: Modest coverage with very low monthly premiums and very low costs on many generic drugs
- Rx Secure-Extra: High level of coverage with higher monthly premiums, low out-of-pocket costs, and more comprehensive drug coverage
Details about each plan option are available on Cigna’s site or Medicare.gov. You can enroll in a Cigna PDP online or by phone, mail, or fax.
Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medicap) Plans
Medicare Supplement plans, also known as Medigap, cover some of the costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. You must have Medicare Parts A and B, and you can’t have Medicare Advantage, to get a Medigap plan. There are ten standardized plans that cover different costs; not all are available in every state. Medicare.gov offers information about Medigap plans, but you buy them directly from private insurers. These plans do not require members to use any specific provider network, so the coverage is portable and flexible.
- Medigap Plan A offers basic benefits, while Plan B adds coverage of the Medicare Part A deductible.
- Plans C, F, and G cover the most out-of-pocket costs for Medicare services, but they also tend to have higher premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs. Only people who became eligible for Medicare before 2020 can buy Plan C and F.
- Plans K and L have lower monthly premiums. They pay a portion of coinsurance rather than a specific dollar amount.
Cigna offers several types of Medigap plans, including:
- Plan A: Slightly extra coverage
- Plan F: The most coverage, no out-of-pocket costs for Medicare-covered services
- Plan F (high deductible): Plan F coverage with a higher deductible
- Plan G: More coverage, lower premium
- Plan N: Lower premiums, predictable out-of-pocket costs
All Medigap plan benefits are the same no matter the insurer, but costs and any additional benefits can vary.
Most Medicare Advantage plans offer extra benefits, such fitness, dental, and vision benefits, as well as hearing aids, over-the-counter-medications, and meal benefits. These benefits have become increasingly common and Cigna offers many extra benefits, consistent with industry trends.
Cigna partners with DentaQuest, a national dental benefits provider, for members who get dental coverage through their Cigna Medicare Advantage plan. Coverage and benefits varies by plan.
Cigna Medicare Advantage plans include vision services covered by Medicare, like eye exams. They may also include allowances for the cost of eyeglass frames and lenses or contact lenses.
Some Cigna plans include hearing benefits that cover hearing exams, hearing aid fittings, and allowances to pay for hearing aids through Cigna’s hearing partner, Hearing Care Solutions.
Cigna members get a quarterly allowance for over-the-counter pharmacy products like vitamins, non-prescription medications, and personal care supplies. Members can place orders as frequently as once per month and rollover any unused money month to month, though it must be used by December 31. The dollar value of the allowance varies by plan.
Some Cigna plans include transportation benefits for non-emergency trips to health care facilities within 60 miles of your home. These trips may be with a taxi, van, or rideshare service through Cigna’s relationship with Access2Care. The maximum number of trips varies by plan.
Cigna members can use the Silver&Fit Healthy Aging and Exercise program for gym membership and home fitness programs.
After a hospital or skilled nursing facility stay, Cigna Medicare Advantage members can get a set number of meals delivered through GA Foods. Members can use this benefit up to three times per year.
Health and Wellness Discounts
Cigna members can get discounts on health and wellness programs, including acupuncture, vision correction surgery, and yoga products. You must be a Cigna member and log in to your online account to access them.
This program helps people over age 65 find programs that help to pay for housing, food, or prescriptions.
Cigna offers several options for customer service, including online, phone, mail, and an app. Online chat is available for some Cigna members.
Prospective members interested in learning more about Cigna Medicare Advantage plans can call 855-984-1401 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. seven days a week between October 1 and March 31 each year. Between April 1 and September 30, phone support for prospective members is available 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.
In Arizona, prospective members call (855) 298-4384, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Arizona time, seven days a week between October 1 and March 31 or Monday through Friday between April 1 and September 30.
Current members should call (800) 668-3813, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week between October 1 and March 31 each year or Monday through Friday between April 1 and September 30.
Arizona members call (800) 627-7534, 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week between October 1 and March 31 each year or Monday through Friday between April 1 and September 30.
Customer service is also available by mail: Cigna, Attn: Customer Service, P.O. Box 20002, Nashville, TN 37202. Arizona members can mail Cigna, Attn: Medicare, P.O. Box 29030, Phoenix, AZ 85038-9971.
Medicare Prescription Drug Plans
PDP prospective members can call (855) 391-2556, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., EST, seven days a week year-round, though an automated phone system may answer calls on weekends between April 1 and September 30.
Current members of Cigna PDPs can call (800) 222-6700, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. year-round, though an automated phone system may answer calls on weekends between April 1 and September 30.
PDP members can mail Cigna Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, P.O. Box 269005, Weston, FL 33326-9927.
Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) Plans
Prospective members interested in Cigna Medigap plans can call (888) 482-6557 from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.
Current Medigap members call (866) 459-4272 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.
Special Needs Plans (SNP)
Caregivers of Cigna SNP members with questions can call (800) 668-3813 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) tracks complaints against insurers of all types, including health insurers. In its complaint index, NAIC divides the company’s share of complaints by its share of premiums in the U.S. market. A score of less than 1.0 means the insurer received fewer than expected complaints; a score of greater than 1.0 means they received more than expected. For example, a score of 2.0 conveys that the company had twice as many complaints as expected.
The 2019 complaint index for Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company was 1.07, slightly above the expectation, across all lines of insurance. The overall index was 0.88 in 2018 and 1.12 in 2017. For individual accident and health insurance, the index was 1.07 in 2019, 1.04 in 2018, and 2.09 in 2017. The Medicare Supplement insurance plans scored slightly better in 2019 (0.96), but worse in 2018 (4.41) and 2017 (4.68).
Cigna’s Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) received more than four times the expected number of complaints in 2017 and 2018, though they dramatically improved in 2019 and the overall complaint numbers are relatively small (9, 17, and 6 in 2017, 2018, and 2019, respectively).
Cigna operates a number of subsidiaries which are reviewed by AM Best, the credit rating agency that assesses insurance companies’ financial strength. AM Best upgraded Cigna HealthSpring from an A- to an A (Excellent) Financial Strength Rating. The rating of Cigna HealthSpring reflects what AM Best categorizes as adequate operating performance as well as its strategic value to Cigna overall with Cigna’s commitment to build the Medicare Advantage business.
The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) is a leading health plan accreditation organization. In the 2019-2020 ratings, Cigna’s Medicare plans scored between 2.5 to 4.0 out of 5.0. These composite scores include measures of customer satisfaction, including satisfaction with the consumer’s ability to get needed care, satisfaction with the doctors, and satisfaction with the health plan.
In its 2020 U.S. Medicare Advantage Study, J.D. Power measured member satisfaction with Medicare Advantage plans. On the overall customer satisfaction index, Cigna HealthSpring ranked sixth overall with a score of 781 points out of 1,000, placing it below the industry average of 800.
Medicare Star Ratings
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rates Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans on a five-star quality rating system. These ratings are based on how well the plans help members stay healthy and manage chronic conditions, as well as how members rate their experience with the plan and its customer service. Star Ratings vary by state, county, and plan.
In the 2021 Star Ratings, Cigna’s plans received between 3.0 and 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars. The average Cigna Star Rating is 3.88 overall. Their Medicare Advantage Part C plans average 3.83 Stars and their Part D Prescription Plans score an average of 3.70. Just one Cigna plan earned a perfect 5.0, while five out of 12 plans that were rated earned a 3.0 or 3.5.
When considering health plan costs, monthly premiums are the most obvious metric. Sixty percent of Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan enrollees paid no premium in 2020, and the average premium for all Medicare Advantage enrollees, including those with and without premiums, is projected to be $21 per month in 2021.
Monthly premiums do not tell the whole cost story; check other out-of-pocket costs, like deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance, and the out-of-pocket maximum which sets the cap for what you could have to pay in a year.
Cigna’s Medicare Advantage 2021 price ranges include:
HMO plans with prescription drug coverage
- Monthly premiums range from $0 to $139, averaging $14.21; most (63%) of Cigna’s HMO plans have no monthly premium.
- Deductibles range from $0 to $445, averaging $90.39; most (65%) have no deductible.
- Annual out-of-pocket maximums for in-network services range from $1,000 to $7,550, averaging $5,804.
HMO plans without prescription drug coverage
- Cigna’s HMO plans without prescription drug coverage have no monthly premiums or deductibles.
- Annual out-of-pocket maximums for in-network services range from $3,900 to $6,900, averaging $5,660.
PPO plans with prescription drug coverage
- Monthly premiums range from $0 to $59, averaging $3.25; almost all (92%) have no premium.
- Deductibles range from $0 to $195, averaging $39.07; of plans with deductibles, the average was $152.73.
- Annual out-of-pocket maximums for in-network services range from $4,400 to $7,400, averaging $6,178.
PPO plans without prescription drug coverage
- PPO plans without prescription drug coverage have no monthly premiums or deductibles.
- All five Cigna PPO plans have an annual out-of-pocket maximum of $5,700.
Cigna PDPs range in costs by level of coverage and state.
- Rx Secure: Monthly premiums range from $21.60 to $60.70, averaging $31.31
- Secure-Essential: Monthly premiums for these plans are either $22.10 or $22.20 in every state.
- Rx Secure-Extra: Monthly premiums range from $46.30 to $74.40, averaging $54.79
Competition: Cigna vs. UnitedHealthcare
Cigna is a global company with a long history, but compared to the largest health insurer in the U.S., UnitedHealthcare, its Medicare Advantage footprint is relatively small. Cigna offers a range of Medicare plans, including three types of special needs plans. Cigna plans score fairly well on quality ratings from CMS and NCQA, though few plans get top scores. Cigna premiums and deductibles for HMO and PPO plans tend to be lower than UnitedHealthcare’s, though prices vary.
However, Cigna out-of-pocket maximums can be higher, which may offset any savings from lower monthly or other out-of-pocket costs. Both companies are large and financially solid, but UnitedHealthcare has a much broader footprint, which may make it the obvious choice depending on where you live. UnitedHealthcare’s partnership with AARP may also offer peace of mind, though the cost and quality of plans vary by area and warrant close scrutiny to make sure you’re getting the best quality plan for the money.
|Number of States Available (Medicare Advantage)||16||47|
|Customer Service Options||Telephone, mail, online, or via the myCigna app||Telephone, online, in person, chat|
|AM Best Rating||A (Excellent)||A- (Excellent)|
|Average CMS Star Rating||3.88||3.87|
Cigna offers high-quality plans with rich extra benefits and online services, though many program and benefit details require members to log in to their online accounts. Though the company overall has a global footprint, Cigna Medicare Advantage plans are only available in 16 states. It may be a great option in those states, but check the local plan details for specific costs and quality to make sure the options in your area are worth the money.
How We Reviewed Medicare Providers
Even Medicare health plans with a national presence can vary locally in their cost, quality, and customer satisfaction. To evaluate Medicare plans, we looked at health insurance industry ratings from the primary accrediting agency for health plans, NCQA, and the Medicare Star Ratings from CMS, the regulatory agency that oversees Medicare. We included the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ complaint index, and AM Best’s financial stability ratings. We also considered information from the companies on their programs and strategies.
Fortune. “Fortune 500.” Accessed December 30, 2020.
Becker’s Payer Issues. “10 top Medicare Advantage plans, ranked by members.” Accessed December 30, 2020.
Becker’s Payer Issues. “10 largest health insurers.” Accessed December 29, 2020.
Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “Part C and D Performance Data, 2021 Star Ratings Data Table.” Accessed December 18, 2020.
Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “Part C and D Performance Data, 2021 Star Ratings Data Table.” Accessed December 11, 2020.
Medicare.gov. “How Medicare Special Needs Plans work.” Accessed December 18, 2020.
Medicare.gov. “Find your level of Extra Help (Part D).” Accessed December 29, 2020.
National Association of Insurance Commissioners. “Cigna Health and Life Ins Co National Complaint Index Report.” Accessed December 28, 2020.
AM Best. “AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Cigna Corp and Most Subs; Upgrades Ratings of Medco Containment and Cigna HealthSpring Subs.” Accessed December 28, 2020.
NCQA. “NCQA Health Insurance Plan Ratings 2019-2020 – Summary Report (Medicare).” Accessed December 28, 2020.
J.D. Power. “Medicare Advantage Plans Struggle to Communicate Effectively with Members, J.D. Power Finds.” Accessed December 19, 2020.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “Trump Administration Announces Historically Low Medicare Advantage Premiums and New Payment Model to Make Insulin Affordable Again for Seniors.” Accessed December 9, 2020.
Kaiser Family Foundation. “Medicare Advantage 2021 Spotlight: First Look.” Accessed December 9, 2020.