Cigna To Stop Offering Individual Health Insurance Policies in California
Cigna Healthcare of California on April 1 stopped offering new individual health insurance policies and on Oct. 31 will stop renewing existing individual policies, pending state approval, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Company and state officials have not yet set a date for the termination of benefits for the approximately 5,700 members in 29 counties with existing individual policies (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/1). Cigna officials said the company decided to cancel individual policies because they are a "small part" of its business. Fewer than 10% of U.S. residents purchase individual plans because most receive employer-sponsored health benefits, according to the AP/Sacramento Bee (AP/Sacramento Bee, 5/1). According to the Chronicle, the individual policyholders are "particularly vulnerable" to loss of health coverage because California law allows non-group insurers to refuse coverage based on medical conditions. Further, individuals must pay the entire cost of health insurance premiums, which have risen at double-digit rates over the last two years, the Chronicle reports. Cigna spokesperson Gwyn Dilday said the company believes most members will be able to find coverage with another HMO, adding that Cigna will try to help with the "few exceptions" in which members are unable to purchase plans elsewhere (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.