Jan 20, 2017

Cigna's $500 million problem

Matt Rourke/AP

Cigna has lost roughly a half billion dollars tied to federal sanctions against its Medicare Advantage plans, according to people familiar with the matter.

The $500 million deficit represents the money Cigna has spent fixing problems with its Medicare Advantage plans, as well as the value of the thousands of members Cigna has lost during Medicare's enrollment period for this year. In 2015, Cigna collected $6.1 billion in Medicare Advantage revenue from the federal government.

Background: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services levied sanctions on Cigna last January after discovering its Medicare Advantage plans had major deficiencies — such as inappropriately denying care and prescription drugs. As a penalty, Cigna was banned from marketing or enrolling people into its Medicare Advantage plans and ordered to clean up its act.

There still is no timeline for when Cigna will remedy all of its problems. Cigna didn't respond to requests for comment.

Why it matters: Medicare Advantage, the private version of Medicare that has encountered many problems over the years, is expected to grow heavily in the coming years regardless of what happens to Obamacare because it has garnered bipartisan support. This kind of financial loss in a vital business could set back Cigna, especially if its deal with Anthem is nixed.

It could have been worse: Last March, the federal government quietly spared Cigna from losing up to $350 million in Medicare Advantage bonuses.

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Virus vices take a toll on Americans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are doubling down on their worst habits to cope with the mental and emotional stress of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The pandemic will have a long-lasting impact on health of the American people, in part due to the habits they will pick up during the weeks and months they are forced to stay home.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 1,203,923 — Total deaths: 64,795 — Total recoveries: 247,273Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 312,237 — Total deaths: 8,502 — Total recoveries: 14,997Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. The virus is hitting poor, minority communities harder and upending childbirth.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. "We're having the convention at the end of August."
  5. Business updates: Restaurants step up for health care workers. Employees are pressuring companies to provide protections during coronavirus.
  6. Oil latest: Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Education update: Many college-age students won't get coronavirus relief checks.
  8. 1 🏀 thing: The WNBA postpones start of training camps and season.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
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World coronavirus updates: Confirmed cases top 1.2 million

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The number of novel coronavirus cases surpassed 1.2 million worldwide Saturday night, as Spain overtook Italy as the country with the most infections outside the U.S.

The big picture: About half the planet's population is now on lockdown and the global death toll was nearing 64,800, by Sunday morning, per Johns Hopkins data.

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