Cigna Tells Brokers to Halt Certain HIX Sales

Cigna Tells Brokers to Halt Certain HIX Sales

Incorrect information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services led to the decision, insurer said.

INN Breaking News, October 10, 2013

Brian M. Kalish

Cigna has instructed brokers to halt selling insurance to individuals who are subsidy-eligible through its federal health care exchange broker portals.

Under the Affordable Care Act, eligible consumers can buy insurance through the exchanges or can go to a broker who can purchase insurance on their behalf.

Incorrect information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services led to the decision by Cigna, spokesman Joe Mondy told Employee Benefit Adviser. As a result, the carrier sent out a notice (see below) to brokers in the states where its product is offered on federal exchanges — Arizona, Florida, Tennessee and Texas — that instructed brokers to halt sales. Cigna’s product in Colorado, which is a state-run exchange, is not affected.

“As we iron that out, we are asking [brokers] to take a pause and not submit individuals until this issue is cleared up in November,” says Mondy.

The glitch stems from a tool, created by Cigna, that allows brokers to assist individuals who are subsidy-eligible to buy insurance. When Cigna first launched the tool, Mondy says the carrier warned brokers that its use was contingent on any technological problems that might arise. While he is unsure how many insurers have provided similar tools, Mondy believes all those that made a tool are experiencing similar issues with CMS. Through a spokeswoman, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association declined to comment about the issues.

Mondy says Cigna is working closely with the government to resolve the issue. CMS did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday afternoon.

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