Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, visited the Cigna Corporation health insurance claims processing center here Wednesday to take a bow for saving hundreds of jobs at one of the city’s largest employers.
In remarks to about 100 employees, Nunes said legislation he introduced allowed health insurance policies for expatriate Americans living or working out of the country to be exempt from some Obamacare regulations.
The legislation let Cigna keep about 700 jobs in Visalia, of which 300 are in the company’s global division processing expatriate claims and who would have lost their jobs, he said.
“The last thing I wanted was to see you guys on the street just before Christmas due to layoffs,” Nunes said.
Employees expressed their gratitude with applause and posed for photographs with Nunes.
Regulations of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 requires all health care policies to contain certain provisions. But Cigna said it couldn’t offer plans with the provisions to expatriates because the policies wouldn’t be accepted in foreign countries, Nunes said.
The Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act of 2014, which passed the House on a bipartisan vote and was folded into a year-end spending bill, fixed the problem, he said.
Cigna issued a statement when the spending bill passed last year.
“Cigna is pleased that Congress lifted anti-competitive requirements imposed by the Affordable Care Act on expatriate plans ... Moreover, the legislation preserves and will grow the businesses that create American jobs,” the company said.
Nunes credited Cigna CEO David Cordani for lobbying legislators.
“Your CEO was calling people in Congress to get this across the finish line,” he said.
He also credited House Speaker John Boehner for folding the language of the bill into the omnibus spending plan that funded the government, and noted that it was one of just a few items unrelated to spending that got into the final bill.