Cigna is Selling Its Medicare Businesses. Here’s What That Means for You

The deal, slated for 2025, could impact which providers are in your network
A doctor speaking with an elderly couple

If you’re a Medicare subscriber, listen up: Your coverage may be changing.

Cigna, a leader in the insurance industry reporting more than 19 million medical insurance customers in 2023, has entered into an agreement to sell its Medicare businesses to Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) — the largest customer-owned health insurer in the U.S. The $3.7 billion-deal is slated to close in the first quarter of 2025 pending regulatory approval and other closing conditions, but the agreement is definitive — so one way or another, the sale is going to happen.

HCSC is the licensee of Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in the states of Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, and the fourth-largest health insurer by enrollment in the United States.

The specific businesses that will be acquired by HCSC are: Cigna Medicare Advantage Cigna Supplemental Benefits Cigna Medicare Part D Cigna CareAllies [/link]

What does Cigna’s sale mean for its Medicare subscribers?

At the end of September 2023, Cigna had about 599,000 Medicare Advantage members — the fewest of the "big five" managed care insurers in the U.S. (The other four are UnitedHealthcare, CVS, Centene Corporation and Humana.)

Still, that’s over half a million members who may be wondering what this acquisition means for their coverage.

Written into the transaction is a four-year agreement between Cigna and HCSC under which Evernorth Health Services — a Cigna subsidiary — will continue to provide pharmacy benefit services for the affected Medicare businesses. In other words, prescription drug coverage may remain virtually identical for some subscribers, at least in the short term.

Still, some subscribers may see a shift in their coverage as a result of the deal — including potential changes to which providers and care centers are in-network. Fortunately, insurers may offer coverage for a patient’s continued care with an established medical provider under certain conditions, even if the provider is not in network with the new plan — at least for a temporary period. This is known as transitional care, transition of care or continuity of care, and you can contact your insurer for more details on the correct form to file if you need to.

Some may also take this opportunity to shop around for new Medicare coverage options, which may offer cost savings depending on the insurer you choose. For instance, Medicare Advantage plans under Kaiser Permanente ring in at an average monthly cost of $57, while those under Aetna average only $7 per month.

As with other forms of health insurance, Medicare costs can also vary depending on your income, the coverage amount you buy and, sometimes, even your age. But shopping around can help ensure you find the right fit at the right price, regardless of any acquisitions or mergers taking place at the highest level.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.