Network based systems

Kaiser Permanente, Cigna ink network, pharmaceutical services agreement

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Kaiser Permanente negotiated its first partnership to use the commercial network of a competing insurer, starting in August.

Under the five-year agreement announced Tuesday, the more than 9 million Kaiser members who seek emergency care when traveling outside of the eight states served by the Oakland, Calif.-based system can consult providers under contract with Cigna. Kaiser members will be responsible for the standard cost sharing associated with their plan rather than paying for out-of-network benefits.

When Kaiser patients visit Cigna providers, their bills will be routed through Cigna’s Evernorth Health Services division, a spokesperson said. The agreement aims to reduce costs for patients, streamline administrative services and increase access to healthcare.

A Kaiser spokesman declined to disclose terms of the deal. The agreement does not apply to Kaiser Medicare and Medicaid enrollees.

This isn’t the first time Cigna has made its PPO available to competitors. In 2020, Cigna partnered with insurtech Oscar Health to launch a joint branding plan for small employers in California. The Cigna + Oscar plan relies on Cigna’s supplier network and competes with Kaiser.

Under the Kaiser deal, Cigna’s Accredo specialty pharmacy service will become its preferred pharmacy for certain limited-distribution drugs, such as Cayston, Kalydeco and Symdeko, all of which are used to treat cystic fibrosis, the carrier said. word. The CuraScript SD specialty product distributor will be Kaiser’s preferred supplier for other specialty products.

Accredo and CuraScript SD are operated under the Evernorth branch of Cigna.

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