Cigna Can Return to Medicare Advantage, Prescription-Drug Plans -- Update

By Maria Armental Features Dow Jones Newswires

Cigna Corp. can resume enrolling beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage and prescription-drug plans after the federal government lifted marketing sanctions in place since January 2016, the insurer said Friday in a securities filing.

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had ordered the Connecticut-based firm to halt enrollment after finding a series of deficiencies following an audit. The government said beneficiaries had been inappropriately denied medical services that should have been covered, which raised issues with Cigna's coverage-appeals process.

On Friday, Cigna said it could resume marketing its Advantage-Prescription Drug and Medicare Part D plans with effective dates beginning July 1.

"We are a better and stronger company as a result of collaborating with CMS and investing further in our processes and technology over the past year and half," said Shawn Morris, interim president for Cigna-HealthSpring. "As a company that puts customers first, we look forward to continuing that partnership while delivering high-quality health care plans to both existing and new customers."

The sanctions blocked Cigna from participating in last year's annual enrollment, the time when those covered by Medicare can change their health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year.

Cigna said in latest quarterly report that plan enrollment and revenue had been "materially impacted" by the federal government's decision. In its report for the period ended March 31, Cigna said management expected the trend to continue for the rest of the year.

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The open enrollment period for Medicare begins Oct. 15.

Write to Maria Armental at maria.armental@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 16, 2017 17:13 ET (21:13 GMT)