Time to Dump Your Cigna Medicare Advantage Plan?

As I wrote in an earlier blog post, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services gave notice to Cigna on January 21 that Cigna would not be able to sign up new Medicare customers until it solved a number of complaints that the CMS had brought to Cigna’s attention on repeated occasions. I am covered by a Cigna HealthSpring Medicare Advantage plan, and I have also had problems with the company.

The reasons for the sanctions against Cigna include:

  • Not conducting sufficient outreach to providers and customers to obtain information needed to make an appropriate decision regarding medical or drug coverage.
  • Incorrectly denying medical services or drugs.
  • Failing to provide customers with a one-time temporary supply of a drug (also known as a transition supply).
  • Failing to process requests for medical services or drug coverage correctly and/or on a timely basis.
  • Providing inadequate or incorrect information in beneficiary communications.
  • Failing to have an effective Compliance program.

Today, just over a month after CMS imposed the sanctions against Cigna, I finally received a letter in the mail from Cigna notifying me about the problem and telling me I could change to another Medicare Advantage plan. I assume that most Cigna Medicare Advantage customers are first becoming aware of the problems today when they also receive this letter. Waiting a month to notify its customers indicates that Cigna is dragging its feet on addressing its problems.

The last sentence of the letter reads: “We want to assure you that Cigna-HealthSrping is working diligently to resolve these issues as quickly as possible.” From what I’ve seen, that sentence is not true.

I have personally had my problems with Cigna. Until just over a week ago, I was unable to obtain my Cigna card for 2016 despite repeated requests. Then, a month and a half after my 2016 coverage started, I received three cards in the mail.

I am still not able to access my complete insurance information on the Cigna website my.cigna.com. Only my drug coverage shows up on that site. I have spent hours on the phone with different support people, and the problem has still not been solved. Several of them have sent me to a variety of other Cigna websites and told me I could access the information there. Not a single one of those websites has worked.

I filed a complaint with CMS about both problems. I assume there are many other Cigna customers with these and additional problems, but as near as I can tell, Cigna has not fixed them.

I did receive a phone call about a week ago about my problems accessing my insurance information online. The woman who called, and whose contact information I failed to obtain, said that the problems I was having were unacceptable and promised to solve them. I’ve heard nothing since.

If you are a Cigna Medicare Advantage customer who is dissatisfied, you may be able change plans, even though the open enrollment period is over. CMS refers to this as a Special Election Period (SEP). For more information, contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)

Finally, my usual book plug. My ebook about hiking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela is available on Amazon. Click on the image of the book’s cover in the left sidebar for more information. Sales of the book help finance this blog.