Cigna and Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) are two of the largest insurance companies that sell Medicare health plans. Depending on where you live, the companies and the plans they sell work a bit differently. Comparing plans between the two companies can get a little tricky, but we want to give you as much information as we can to help you make better health decisions.
|Cigna/Cigna-HealthSpring||Blue Cross Blue Shield|
|Access to provider networks||Global network of over 1.5 million health care providers||95% of US doctors and specialists contract with BCBS4|
|MA plan availability||15 states and DC||41 states|
|Medigap plan availability||49 states and DC||Varies depending on local BCBS insurer|
|PDP availability||Nationwide||40 states|
Data effective 6/4/2019.
First up, here’s a breakdown of how these two companies operate.
- Cigna sells Medicare Advantage (MA) plans and 3 prescription drug plans (PDPs) nationwide under the name Cigna-HealthSpring. Medigap plans are sold under the name Cigna. Cigna has over 1.5 million health care professionals around the world1.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield includes 36 unique, locally run companies that operate under the Blue Cross Blue Shield brand2. So where you live determines which BCBS company you can buy a plan from. BCBS also has a wide range of Medicare Advantage and Part D plans3.
Cigna vs. BCBS: Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans
To compare Medicare plans between Cigna and Blue Cross Blue Shield, we needed to get local because the plans available to you from each company depend on the local BCBS insurer where you live.
We pulled example plan information from Dallas, Texas, to give you an idea of the benefits and costs of plans offered by each company. In our Texas search, we found Cigna-HealthSpring sells one Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan, one HMO Special Needs Plan (HMO SNP), two Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, and three Part D prescription drug plans. In comparison, BCBS lets beneficiaries choose between two PPOs—plus three PDPs.
Cigna and BCBS Medicare Advantage plans (in Dallas, TX)
- Cigna-HealthSpring Preferred (HMO)
- Cigna-HealthSpring TotalCare (HMO SNP)
- Cigna-HealthSpring Preferred (PPO)
- Cigna-HealthSpring Advantage (PPO)
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas6
- Blue Cross Medicare Advantage Choice Plus (PPO)
- Blue Cross Medicare Advantage Choice Premier (PPO)
Confused about all those abbreviations? Find out the main differences between HMO, PPO, PFFS, and other plans on our Advantage plan comparison page.
Remember, the specific plan options, costs, and availability depend on your location. Do your own research and compare plans from many providers before making a decision.
Comparing stand-alone PDP benefits
We also compared the prescription drug plans (PDPs) that Cigna-HealthSpring and BCBS sell in Texas. Again, the benefits and costs are similar, but each offers some unique coverage.
Cigna and BCBS prescription drug plans (in Dallas, TX)
- 2019 Cigna-HealthSpring Rx Secure (PDP)
- 2019 Cigna-HealthSpring Rx Secure-Extra (PDP)
- 2019 Cigna-HealthSpring Rx Secure-Essential (PDP)
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas8
- Blue Cross MedicareRx Basic (PDP)
- Blue Cross MedicareRx Value (PDP)
- Blue Cross MedicareRx Plus (PDP)
The BCBS plan premium is $8 more per month, which would cost you $96 more than Cigna-HealthSpring’s plan over the course of a year. However, Cigna-HealthSpring may be more expensive overall because certain drug tiers have higher copayments. Think about the prescription drugs you take and whether lower premiums or lower copayments are more important to you.
|2019 Cigna-HealthSpring Rx Secure (PDP)||Blue Cross MedicareRx Basic (PDP)|
|Tier 1 (preferred generic)||1||1|
|Tier 2 (generic)||3||4|
|Tier 3 (preferred brand)||30||0.14|
|Tier 4 (non-preferred drug)||0.37||0.3|
|Tier 5 (specialty tier)||0.25||0.25|
Sample plans based on Cigna.com and Medicare.gov and are for illustration purposes only. Actual plans may vary. All drug prices assume the prescription is filled at a preferred retail pharmacy for a 30-day supply. Data effective 6/4/19.
Comparing Medicare Supplement plans
With Medicare Supplement, or Medigap, it’s important to remember that plan benefits are standardized and don’t change from insurer to insurer. What can differ are the menu of plans offered and each plan’s premium cost.
|Medigap plan||Cigna9||BCBS of Texas10|
|High deductible Plan F||Yes||Yes|
Data effective 6/4/19.
Our research on Cigna and BCBS of Texas Medigap plans turned up a few differences. Cigna sells five plans, while BCBS sells seven. Both companies offers Plans A, F, G, N, and high deductible Plan F, but only BCBS also offers Plans K or L. Neither company sells Plans B, C, D, or M.
As a side note, on January 1, 2020, newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries won’t be able to buy a Medigap Plan F, high deductible Plan F, or Plan C. However, that doesn’t mean those plans are going away for everybody. Find out what this means for you, and your possible options.
The bottom line: Cigna vs. BCBS
What’s most important in the Cigna vs. Blue Cross Blue Shield comparison? Location, location, location. Because both companies operate differently depending on where you live, you need to get to know which local insurers offer plans in your area.
Finally, look again at our plan comparison tables above. You can see that—at least in Texas—both companies offer similar plans but with slightly different options. Decide what’s more important to you, whether that be low premiums, low copays, special benefits, or other factors, to help you make your decision.
Have you made your decision? Need help finding the right plan for you? Call an agent.
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1. Cigna, “Global Health Solutions”
2. BlueCross BlueShield Association, “Blue Facts”
3. Blue Cross Blue Shield, “2019 MA & PDPs Offered by BCBS Companies”
4. Blue Cross Blue Shield, “The Blue Cross Blue Shield System”
5. Cigna-HealthSpring, “Find Your 2019 Medicare Advantage Plan”
6. BlueCross BlueShield of Texas, “Medicare Advantage Plan Documents”
7. Cigna-HealthSpring, “Find Your 2019 Medicare Advantage Plan”
8. BlueCross BlueShield of Texas, “Prescription Drug Plan Documents”
9. Cigna, “State Disclosures, Exclusions, Limitations & Reductions”
10. BlueCross BlueShield of Texas, “Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan Documents”
Content on this site has not been reviewed or endorsed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the United States Government, any state Medicare agency, or any private insurance agency (collectively “Medicare System Providers”). Eligibility.com is a DBA of Clear Link Technologies, LLC and is not affiliated with any Medicare System Providers.