Cigna Expands Obamacare Footprint in Latest Lift for Health Law
(Bloomberg) -- Cigna Corp. is expanding its offerings of Affordable Care Act health plans next year to three new states, in the latest sign that insurers are embracing a market that some had fled when Obamacare’s political fortunes looked shakier.
Health insurers that were once lukewarm on selling ACA coverage now see it as a growing, profitable business. The marketplaces have been bolstered by expanded subsidies passed in the American Rescue Plan that lowered premiums and helped draw more than 1.5 million new customers.
Cigna intends to start selling ACA plans in Georgia, Mississippi and Pennsylvania and expand its footprint in Arizona, Florida and Virginia.
Not long ago, it looked like the ACA was in trouble. A Republican-controlled Congress was a few votes shy of repealing the law in 2017, and the Trump administration yanked funding for subsidies and marketing the plans. Then a long-shot Supreme Court challenge threatened once again to undo the law.
But even with a conservative majority on the bench, the court rejected that challenge in June. President Joe Biden took office promising to build on the ACA. With clouds of political uncertainty clearing, extra money pouring in to help consumers afford the plans, and marketplaces that have stabilized since their tumultuous early years, insurers are now eager for the business.
While some big health insurers once backed out of the ACA marketplaces, competition is increasing. New insurers entered the market in 1,207 counties in this year, and only 12 counties lost competition, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Cigna’s announcement Thursday is a sign that trend is likely to continue in 2022.
The move follows CVS Health Corp.’s announcement earlier this month that it will sell Aetna health plans on ACA marketplaces in eight new states next year, including Arizona, Florida, Virginia and Texas. Anthem Inc. is boosting its presence in California.
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