By Tom Lacock
Wyoming Medical Society
Cigna has recently sent a series of letters to Wyoming physicians outlining cuts to provider reimbursements, effective April 1. On Thursday evening in Cheyenne the Laramie County Medical Society hosted Jesse Walker, the Wyoming State Contract Manager for Cigna, who explained the Cigna reasoning for the cuts.
Walker told the audience that the State of Wyoming employee insurance plan is administered by Cigna and that plan, which contains 38,000 of its 75,000 covered lives in the state, is up for bid in May. He said that pressure from the state of Wyoming to keep its insurance costs low has led to Cigna and the state looking into its provider agreements and making some changes. Walker suggested the state has asked Cigna to come up with fixed fee schedules for this round of bids for a more predictable modeling of healthcare costs to the state.
Walker went on to say that not every provider in Wyoming has seen changes to their contracted reimbursement rates, rather Cigna wanted to roll out the changes by specialty and has started with obstetrics. Physicians at the meeting suggested to Walker that the new fee schedule for obstetrics has revealed reimbursements below the levels of Medicaid.
Obstetrics isn’t the only specialty to see changes. Some cuts in reimbursements are up to 66 percent, according to doctors in attendance Thursday night.
Walker said Cigna is looking for physician input and is meeting with doctors around the state. Walker, who was previously a contract manager for WINhealth, said Cigna isn’t taking a take-it-or-leave-it approach and is interested in speaking with physicians around the state.
While Cigna is talking to providers about changing reimbursements, it is also trying to work with hospitals in Cheyenne, Casper, and Laramie, where Walker said 85 percent of its spend comes from.
Walker, as well as several other representatives from Cigna will be in Cheyenne on Tuesday night to meet with representatives from the Wyoming Medical Society to further discuss the new rates. Among the representatives from Cigna will be Kim Bimestefer, the Mountain Region President for Cigna.