Cigna vs. Kaiser Permanente

In this article...
  • Cigna and Kaiser Permanente are two of the top insurance companies in the U.S. that offer Medicare plans. Our review will help you compare Cigna vs. Kaiser Medicare plans so that you can better decide which type of plan is best for you.

Cigna and Kaiser Permanente are both major players in the Medicare insurance game. So how do these competitors stack up against one another, and which one might be the best fit for your needs? 

In this review, we’ll break down these two companies to help you decide which company offers the best Medicare plan for your needs.

Kaiser Permanente: Patient-Focused HMO Medicare Plans

The key difference between Cigna and Kaiser Permanente is that Kaiser Medicare plans tend to be more HMO-focused. While the company offers other types of Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) coverage, such as PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plans, HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) plans are its bread and butter. 

An HMO Medicare Advantage plan tends to be more patient-focused and emphasizes preventive care with a team-oriented approach.

  • In an HMO plan, you’ll utilize a primary care physician (PCP) who you see for all initial appointments.
  • If the primary care physician decides additional tests are needed or that you need specialized care, they will coordinate with a team of specialists and other health care providers within the plan’s network to set you up with an appointment. 

HMO plans are a type of managed care designed to reward participating providers who achieve good health outcomes among their members. 

Kaiser Permanente owns its own health care facilities and employs their own doctors in some areas. It’s like a medical facility and health insurance plan all in one. 

Cigna, on the other hand, offers HMO plans, PPO plans and other types of Medicare Advantage plans and does not own its own health care facilities or employ its own doctors. 

Cigna: Medicare Plans Available in Many Parts of the U.S.

Cigna offers Medicare plans all over the U.S., and Cigna Medicare Advantage plans are accepted by a wide range of hospitals, doctor’s offices, clinics, pharmacies and more. In 2021, Cigna offers Medicare Advantage plans in 369 counties. Kaiser Permanente only offers Medicare Advantage plans in 109 counties.

Every year, Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system. For 2021, Cigna has an overall Medicare Star Rating of a perfect 5 stars.1 This is the top-possible Star Rating. Aetna, on the other hand, earned an overall rating of 4 Stars in 2021.

Kaiser Permanente vs. Cigna: Coverage Differences

Both Kaiser Permanente and Cigna offer individual and family health insurance plans, dental and vision plans, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans. 

Cigna distinguishes itself by offering a wider variety of supplemental insurance policies, such as Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans.

Quality Comparison

While Cigna and Kaiser Permanente have their differences in coverage options, locations served and core operations, one thing they share is strong financial and quality ratings.

Cigna Credit Rating Agency Kaiser Permanente

A

A.M. Best

A

A

Fitch

AA-

A2

Moody's

N/A

A

Standard's and Poor's

AA-

Every year, Medicare evaluates plans on a 5-star rating system. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rates all Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans every year using the 5-star quality scale.

Customer Service and Ease of Use

Both Cigna and Kaiser Permanente have mobile apps available for both Apple and Android devices where members can check their benefits, file claims, pay bills and more. 

Both companies provide a live online chat feature where members can speak to a representative along with email and phone support. Cigna offers 24/7 phone support while Kaiser Permanente is only available by phone from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Verdict

Kaiser Permanente offers a patient-focused approach to care, but with fewer products available in fewer markets. 

Cigna has a more diverse portfolio of policies and a larger coverage area. 

Both Cigna and Kaiser Permanente boast strong financial and quality ratings along with dedicated customer service and ease of use. 

If you live in one of the select markets serviced by Kaiser Permanente and prefer the managed care strategy, Kaiser may be a strong choice for you. 

If you prefer more choice in coverage and health care providers, Cigna may the insurance company for you. 

Read More
Doctor smiles while reviewing information with her patient
Aetna Medicare Advantage plans cover an annual wellness visit with your doctor. Learn about what this ...
Woman smiles at her dentist while sitting in dentist chair
Learn how to find Aetna Medicare dental providers in your area and more information about how Aetna ...
Smiling couple outdoors with sun in the background
How do Medigap plans and Medicare Advantage plans differ? How can you decide which type of plan is ...