The long-announced purchase of Cigna by Anthem has been pushed off into some indefinite date in the future according to Jill Becher, a spokeswoman for Anthem and not denied by Matt Asensio, a spokesman for Cigna. Why? No one will say except for Mr. Ansensio’s vague reference to “a dynamic environment” and “complexity in the regulatory process.” Could Cigna’s continuing dysfunction have anything to do with it? Could the reason have anything to do with the fact that Cigna has not yet convinced the government that it should be allowed to resume selling its Medicare Advantage plans? (The government banned Cigna from signing up new Medicare customers in January.)
In the meantime, Cigna is building a new website to sell insurance to customers. It says that the name “Cigna” will not appear anywhere on the site. According to a Cigna email sent to select customers, the site will sell, “medical, dental, vision, pet insurance, and more.” I swear I’m not making this up. Yes, Cigna is proposing selling pet insurance. Some Cigna customers already feel that they are being treated like dogs, so it may not be a big change.
Two suggestions for the new insurance website are “Pathlight Benefit Solutions” (sounds as if they’re selling hiking equipment) and “Guided Benefit Source.” There is nothing in the names to tell the website visitor that it is Cigna that is lighting the path or guiding the visitor toward a source of benefits. What are they thinking? Is a company that the government has already accused of defrauding its customers really going to do this? Cigna management needs to come to its senses. Someone needs to stop this crazy plan.
I’m still waiting for some sign that Cigna is working to solve the problems that have prompted the US government to prohibit the company from offering Medicare insurance to prospective new customers. I would just like to see some sign that there is someone sane running the company. So far, it’s not looking promising.