Teaming Up in Maricopa County

Keeping up with Arizona’s healthcare exchange marketplace hasn’t been easy over the past few months. With all the insurers coming and going, it’s hard to know what choices will be available when open enrollment starts in less than two months.

That makes the news out of Maricopa County even more interesting. It seems two insurance companies have decided to team up to offer coverage to Maricopa residents. From

Maricopa County residents could have a new health insurer on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange next year, but it might not be the insurer that many local observers thought it would be.

Missouri-based Centene Corp. is seeking regulatory approval to sell ACA marketplace health insurance in Maricopa and Pima counties next year. Cigna would join the effort as a medical provider for Centene’s insurance plans in Maricopa County, but Cigna now says that it doesn’t expect to offer its own marketplace insurance in Maricopa County.

According to KJZZ-Radio in Phoenix, “Cigna, which was expected to be the only insurer in Maricopa County, decided to pull out of the exchange, but would partner with Centene by opening up its network of providers. In other words, Centene policyholders will now have access to more doctors.”

Arizona Hospital and Healthcare (AzHHA) President & CEO Greg Vigdor released this statement:

greg“Customers, patients and healthcare providers depend on stability, which has been in short supply amid sweeping changes in federal regulation and the broader healthcare marketplace. With so much written and said about private insurers leaving the Affordable Care Act exchanges in Arizona, I am encouraged that two insurers – Cigna and Centene, in collaboration with government officials – have identified an innovative way to maintain continuity of care and minimize disruption to patients and families in Maricopa County.  During uncertain times, this arrangement points the way to the kind of public/private collaboration we need more of across our healthcare system.”

The Phoenix Business Journal quoted Andy Slavitt, acting administrator for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as saying, “federal health officials appreciate the hard work of Cigna and Centene to develop a collaborative, innovative solution that ensures consumers in Maricopa County continue to have access to quality coverage.”

We often talk about the need to work together to reach our long-term goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation. Centene and Cigna have taken that idea to heart by working together to make a difficult ACA situation better in Maricopa County by maintaining coverage options and minimizing disruption. Centene is also seeking regulatory approval to provide Pima County residents with additional coverage options. We will continue to follow that story and update you with any new information.

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