As you may know, in January of this year, the government’s banned Cigna from offering new Medicare Advantage Plans or signing up new Medicare Advantage clients. The ban resulted from the violation of regulations regarding benefits administration, the handling of appeals and grievances, and coverage administration among other problems. At the heart of Cigna’s problems seems to be its poorly organized structure and its largely dysfunctional computer systems.
Cigna’s computers do not seem to communicate properly with each other. Customers are often required to log onto different computer systems to get information about their coverage and treatment, and the information they find is often incorrect or incomplete.
For example, I am covered by a Cigna Medicare Advantage Plan, but when I log onto my.cigna.com, which is the site where I am supposed to be able to review my coverage and claims, the internet site tells me I have drug coverage only. It shows that my medical coverage expired at the end of 2015, which is not correct. I can view my drug claims on the site, but there is absolutely no information available about my doctors’ visits, etc.
My.cigna.com also has a smartphone app to supposedly allow customers to access the site. I have the app, but it will not log me in. Instead, an 800 number pops up that I am supposed to call.
I’ve called the number and engaged in lengthy conversations with various people in Cigna’s internet technology department. They have given me conflicting advice. The last answer I got was that the site was being worked on and would function properly in July. July has come and gone, and the site is still broken. However, when I logged on before starting this blog post, there were several sentences in red text on the home page stating that the site was being worked on. I hope that is a good sign.
The question for those of us who are covered by or want to be covered by a Cigna Medicare Advantage plan is, will the problems be solved by November, when the next enrollment period begins? I thing the answer to that question is, not likely. Given what little progress has been made, I cannot see how it is possible that Cigna will meet the requirements of the US government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services by November.
If Cigna does not straighten out its mess by November, will it be able to enroll new Medicare Advantage clients. It seems that it almost certainly will not. What about those of us who have coverage now? Will we be permitted to continue coverage with Cigna, or will we have to change to another plan? That is a question I cannot answer.
However, all of us who are currently covered by Cigna should be prepared to change to another provider during the open enrollment period from October 15 through December 7 of this year. I for one will be checking the plans available during that period. If Cigna is allowed to continue servicing its existing Medicare Advantage enrollees, those of us who do nothing will continue with Cigna and will accept whatever Cigna’s plan is for 2017. If that is an option and you decide to take it, at least look at what your coverage will be for 2017 and be sure that you are satisfied with it.