Did insurance companies Cigna and UnitedHealthcare add new text that denies health care if a person has been affected by a war in 2024? No, that's not true: This language has been included in Cigna's and UnitedHealthcare's insurance policies in the past. Lead Stories found multiple examples of this clause in policies during previous years.
The claim appeared in a TikTok (archived here) published on December 30, 2023, with the caption, "What do they know that we dont 🧐." It opened with a woman speaking into a microphone in front of a document:
This is something that made me go 'Hmmm.'
This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:
(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Jan 2 15:43:41 2024 UTC)
The unidentified woman goes on to say that when she was reviewing insurance policies for 2024, she noticed what she described as a "new exclusion." She points to a bullet point in Cigna's 2024 health insurance policy under "Exclusions, Expenses Not Covered and General Limitations." The line as she reads it says, "treatment of an Injury or Sickness which is due to war, declared, or undeclared, riot or insurrection." She then finds a similar line under a UnitedHealthcare 2024 health policy. UnitedHealthcare's line reads, "We do not Cover an illness, treatment or medical condition due to war, declared or undeclared."
The woman in the video describes the policy language as "not typical."
But Lead Stories found examples of health insurance policies where similar exemption language regarding "war, declared or undeclard, riot or insurrection" was used during years when no wars were occurring on American soil.
In a 2014 health insurance document for employees of the Chicago Transit Authority (archived here), Cigna used the same language in that year's policy that can be seen in the 2024 policy. On page 30, under "Exclusions, Expenses Not Covered and General Limitations," there's a bullet point that reads, "treatment of an Injury or Sickness which is due to war, declared, or undeclared, riot or insurrection." Similar language can be found in a health care document for employees of the city of Frisco, Texas on page 3 (archived here) and Hollywood, Florida (archived here) on page 48. Both of these cities used Cigna to insure their employees in 2019. The 2019 documents also include exclusions of treatment from war, riots or insurrection.
The language as read in the video on TikTok can be seen in the UnitedHealthcare policy from years past. For example, during the 2016-17 academic year, Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (archived here) used UnitedHealthcare and that year's policy had the same language that was seen in the video on TikTok. Under Exclusions and Limitations, on page 6, a line reads, "We do not Cover an illness, treatment or medical condition due to war, declared or undeclared." The same line was used in a 2021-22 plan for The New School (archived here) students, on page 5, and State University of New York Albany (archived here) students, on page 4, in 2018-2019. Both schools used UnitedHealthcare.
Other Lead Stories fact checks about health care can be found here.