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REUTERS SUMMIT-Cigna says signed up 75,000-100,000 for Obamacare

Source: Reuters - Tue, 1 Apr 2014 22:10 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Updates with latest enrollment figures, adds payment detail)

By Caroline Humer

WASHINGTON, April 1 (Reuters) - Cigna Corp has enrolled between 75,000 and 100,000 people in Obamacare health plans for 2014, Chief Executive David Cordani said on Tuesday at the Reuters Health Summit.

Among those, about two-thirds signed up through the public exchanges created as part of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law, popularly called Obamacare, Cordani said on the day after the enrollment period for the plans ended. The rest signed up directly with Cigna.

Cigna, whose health insurance business focuses on large corporations, began offering the new individual plans in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Tennessee and Texas this year. The federal enrollment website HealthCare.gov sells plans for 36 states, while 14 others, including Colorado, run their own exchanges.

Enrollment began slowly because of technology problems on most exchanges, but a spike in demand before the March 31 sign-up deadline boosted enrollment to higher than expected levels. Obama said on Tuesday that 7.1 million people had signed up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act and declared the law was achieving its goals despite a messy rollout. .

HealthCare.gov experienced sporadic outages on Monday under the load of traffic.

Technology issues and slow enrollment also contributed to a mix of customers that skewed toward people older than expected during the early months. Cordani said that compared with that group, more younger people began signing up for the plans in recent weeks.

More people are paying their first month's premiums now than they were earlier this year, Cordani said. About 75 to 80 percent of people had paid their premiums in January and gotten coverage. That percentage has now risen to the low 80s, he said.

Cigna is looking at its new customers and trying to ascertain as much information as possible to decide about its participation in 2015 and if it will expand to more markets, Cordani said.

"We have a bias to extend, but it's (to be determined) right now. There is a lot of work to be done over the next couple of months," Cordani said at the summit, held at the Reuters office in Washington.

"We know where we would like to be," he said.

Follow Reuters Summits on Twitter @Reuters_Summits (Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Jim Loney and Peter Cooney)

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