Cigna sells Medicare unit in Nashville

Cigna sells Medicare unit in Nashville

March 30th, 2011 in Business Around the Region

Cigna Corp. is selling a Nashville-based government services division, but the move will not affect the Tennessee health insurance operations in Chattanooga, company officials said Tuesday.

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is buying the 850-employee division of Cigna that handles customer service and processing and the payment of Medicare claims for more than 14 million beneficiaries nationwide.

The acquisition will add a fifth line of government contract business for the South Carolina BlueCross plan, which has been among the most aggressive among the nonprofit Blues plans in expanding into other business lines.

"Cigna is focusing on those businesses that are part of our core strategy to go deep, go individual and go global," Cigna spokeswoman Lindsay Shearer said.

While Cigna will continue to offer Medicare Advantage plans such as Medicare Part D and Medicare supplemental plans, the insurer will no longer try to administer basic Medicare plans.

Cigna employs more than 1,500 workers in Chattanooga administering private health plans in the Southeast.

Elizabeth Hammond, a spokeswoman for BlueCross of South Carolina, said the purchase of Cigna's government services division should be completed in April. The division will then be renamed, but she said the company doesn't expect to significantly alter staffing at either the division's Nashville or High Point, N.C. offices.