CIGNA is one of the oldest insurance companies in the United States, and one of the largest providers of healthcare insurance in the world. The company actually has its roots in the early days of America, and was founded in Philadelphia in 1792 as the Insurance Company of North America, a marine insurance company which covered ships traveling between Europe and the new nation. The first life insurance policy was issued in 1794, and the company was incorporated in that year as well.
By the time of the Civil War, the company had become the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company. The company had a reputation for stability and paid full claims, even during the disastrous Chicago fire of 1871. In 1887, the company became international, with offices in London, Vienna, and Buenos Aires. Connecticut General Life Insurance was one of pioneers of risk assessment, establishing a “bureau of financial statistics” to calculate risks definitively and grade premiums accordingly.
Connecticut General began offering “sickness coverage” in 1919. In 1982, the company changed its name to “CIGNA,” an acronym based on a combination of “Connecticut General” and “Insurance Company of North America.” Today, the company offers a wide variety of healthcare coverage, including medical, dental, vision, and assorted supplemental policies.
Does CIGNA provide healthcare services direct?
CIGNA does not provide very many healthcare services directly. Primarily, the company manages healthcare programs through subsidiaries. CIGNA’s current headquarters are in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, although the company recently announced that it will be moving to Bloomfield, Connecticut, due to the incentive of $50 million in economic benefit from that state for job creation. CIGNA will be required to create 200 new jobs within 5 years in exchange for numerous tax benefits.
CIGNA currently employs over 29,000 people and writes over $18 billion per year in insurance. The company is also an international presence, offering many “expatriate” policies to Americans living overseas. CIGNA insures people in over 25 countries.
CIGNA Health Insurance Plans
CIGNA manages a variety of types of insurance policies, including point-of-service plans, HMOs, PPOs, and consumer-driven health plans. Many of these plans involve customer input and control; for example, a consumer-driven health plan is based on healthcare savings accounts (HSAs), which provide tax benefits to consumers who save for deductibles and co-pays, as well as other expenses.
As with any HMO or PPO, CIGNA’s plans offer relatively low deductibles and co-pays, but customers lose some freedom in choosing their own doctors and providers. HMO health insurance plans often require patients to have a “primary care physician” before getting a referral to a specialist. PPO health insurance plans require the patient to use “in-network” doctors and providers to insure maximum benefits are paid. However, CIGNA’s networks are so large that most customers can find an in-network provider easily in their local areas.
CIGNA also offers traditional health insurance plans through its “Open Network” option. People who choose this option can choose their own doctors and specialists. Premiums and deductibles are generally higher, and many treatments and procedures require pre-certification, however.
CIGNA’s Starbridge and Fundamental Care plans are designed for part-time workers or those temporarily unemployed, and provide basic medical care such as doctor’s visits, prescriptions, and wellness benefits. These plans provide coverage to small employers who do not need full healthcare benefits for their employees; any employer with 51 or more employees can apply.
CIGNA Supplemental Health Insurance
CIGNA also offers a variety of supplemental policies, such as behavioral care, vision, and dental. These plans can be combined with existing group coverage, or can be purchased separately to meet specific employee needs. CIGNA also offers life insurance and disability insurance which can be combined as options with healthcare policies or sold as standalone policies as part of a total employee benefits package.
The type of CIGNA insurance offered in your individual case will depend on several factors. If your employers use CIGNA as a group health insurance provider, you will be provided with information on whether your employer offers an HMO, PPO, or some other option. If you choose CIGNA as your healthcare provider for individual insurance, you can often choose between several options for plans. You can find information at CIGNA’s website, www.cigna.com, or from a local independent health insurance agent.
CIGNA has recently partnered with Humana Healthcare to provide Medicare supplemental insurance. CIGNA Medicare Rx is a prescription plan which covers 95% of commonly used drugs, and offers $0 copay and $0 gap coverage. The CIGNA Medicare Select Plus Rx, which is available only in Arizona, provides $0 deductible and low copays for doctor visits, as well as gap coverage on all Tier 1 drugs.