The Invisible Hand Taketh Away, and The Invisible Hand Giveth: Cigna files to join Illinois exchange

The most recent ACA/healthcare news out of Illinois was the ugly announcement that Land of Lincoln Health is the latest ACA-created Co-Op to go belly-up, leaving 49,000 people (39,000 on individual plans and 10,000 in the small group market) having to scramble to find new coverage in the middle of the year. This was on top of recent news that UnitedHealthcare is pulling out of dozens of states including Illinois (Humana is also dropping out of a bunch of states, but I don't think Illinois is among them).

Well, nature (and the market) abhors a vacuum, so guess what?

One of the nation's largest health insurance companies plans to enter the Obamacare marketplace in the Chicago area for the first time, bringing new competition as other insurers exit or go out of business.

The Tribune has confirmed that Cigna, based in Bloomfield, Conn., has filed plans to sell health policies to individuals and families who purchase their own coverage in the individual market. If the plans are approved by Illinois regulators, Cigna will start selling policies Nov. 1, when enrollment for 2017 Obamacare coverage opens.

It's not all great news, however; they're sticking to Chicago...

Cigna spokesman Joe Mondy said the company is focusing on the Chicago area and not the entire state. He said it was premature to provide details about proposed provider networks, benefits and the cost of insurance until the company's rate filings are approved and the health plans are ready for sale.

...and it looks like the trend towards dropping PPOs is continuing....

Aetna will discontinue its preferred provider organization, or PPO, plans called Savings Plus in Illinois, a company spokesman confirmed. The elimination of those medical plans will force about 12,000 policyholders to find another plan, said spokesman Rohan Hutchings.

Anyway, it looks like I'll finally be able to scratch Illinois off the "2017 Requested Rate Hike" list next week:

Humana is pulling out of several state exchanges but has not identified which ones. Illinois residents are scheduled to get their first look at 2017 Obamacare plans on Monday when the federal government publishes rate proposals online at

Meanwhile, in other carrier expansion news...

More health insurers expected to return to Central Oregon in 2017
State is promising “reasonable rates” on policies

Bend residents might have more than two health insurance carriers to choose from next year after all.

Currently, Health Net Health Plan of Oregon and PacificSource Health Plans have agreed to sell 2017 individual policies — those people buy for themselves or family members — in Deschutes County. State regulators announced Wednesday four other carriers have expressed interest in expanding the number of counties they sell those policies in.

...So far, Providence Health Plan, BridgeSpan Health Co., Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon and ATRIO Health Plans have requested to change their coverage areas, Allen said. Nothing is official until the carriers submit formal filings to the Department of Consumer and Business Services by the end of the day today. On Monday, regulators will meet with the carriers to hash out final coverage areas and rates.