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Health Equity

For nearly 15 years, we've been committed to ensuring that all people have the opportunity to achieve their full health potential regardless of social, economic, or environmental circumstances.

Promoting Affordable and Equitable Health Care for All

Our health starts in the communities where we live, work, and play. Achieving health equity requires reducing health disparities and addressing the social determinants of health (SDOH) that adversely affect underserved communities, so that everyone has the opportunity to achieve health and well-being regardless of social, economic, or environmental circumstances.

Health disparities are avoidable and unfair differences in health status between segments of the population that negatively affect groups of people who have experienced greater social and/or economic obstacles to health based on: race, ethnicity, education, literacy, income level, language, culture, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, cognitive, sensory, or physical disabilities, and geographic location. Social determinants of health (SDOH) are conditions and environments that disproportionately affect populations impacted by health disparities, putting them at risk for experiencing worse health outcomes.

Health Equity, in turn, is the attainment of the highest level of health for all people. To achieve health equity, or optimal health for all people, we must address these complex societal and environmental components.

VIDEO

Let’s Explore Health Equity

Watch this short video to learn about how Cigna prioritizes health equity to eliminate health disparities. (Length 1:53)

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Let’s Explore Health Equity

What We’re Doing

A person’s gender, race, education, income, or zip code should never dictate the quality of their health. We have a responsibility to our clients, customers, and communities to expand and create solutions and benefits to address health inequities where we know they exist.

We believe that closing gaps in health equity starts from within, which is why we’ve committed to empowering our staff to approach their work through an equity lens. Cigna’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council integrates our DEI strategy with Cigna’s mission, strategies, and business objectives.

How We’ll Get There

Interventions

Maternal Health: Rising preterm birth rates among African-American/Black customers in several of Cigna’s markets required action. We launched a maternal health program that addresses common SDOH barriers to care, including free implicit bias training for providers, and prenatal vitamins and aspirin for enrolled pregnant customers. Additionally, a Cigna maternity nurse works with customers and their providers to ensure evidence-based interventions (e.g., cervical length screening, progesterone, and regular mental health and depression screenings) are performed, and coordinates free transportation to prenatal visits and testing appointments for eligible customers. We plan to expand this program in additional markets.

Diabetes Management: We partnered with a Memphis hospital system’s community outreach arm to connect community health workers with vulnerable customers living with diabetes to help them manage their treatment.

LGBTQ+ Health: To address health disparities faced by the LGBTQ+ community, we’ve expanded our provider directory to include an indicator for self-identified medical and behavioral health providers with LGBTQ+ health experience and interest, offer transgender inclusion awareness training for Cigna staff, and provide additional LGBTQ+ resources to providers.

Solutions

Case Management Solutions: SDOH screening is incorporated in all of Cigna’s case management programs to ensure customers’ unmet social needs are identified and addressed with resources to support SDOH

We are the first health plan to test and validate the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) distress screening tool to provide enhanced support to our highest-risk, vulnerable customers who were newly diagnosed with cancer or experiencing a transition in care. Since its initial use in cancer care, we’ve expanded use of the distress screening tool to include transplant and gene therapy specialty case management services.

Client Collaboration

Client Collaboration: We collaborate with our clients and customers to develop tools and resources that improve population health management. This includes direct support in the development of tools that help our clients target and address specific SDOH and health disparities in their workforce.

We've also created community resources for clients to share with their employees: National Patient Resources and FindHelp. These community resources are also available for providers to share with their patients.

Provider Collaboration

Our Cigna Collaborative Care (CCC) model rewards providers who screen patients for SDOH and refer them to additional care that addresses unmet social needs. Additionally, providers are rewarded if they identify and address areas of health disparities and address these disparities. We’ve also developed an abundance of cultural competency and health equity resources for providers, including information on health disparities within African-American/Black communities, South Asian communities and Hispanic/Latino communities, as well as a SDOH Guide for addressing SDOH within their practice.

Addressing the Digital Divide

We recognize that the digital divide exacerbates health disparities and are committed to the development of digital solutions that promote health equity and reduce the “digital divide.”

Understanding virtual care helps customers learn what they need to complete a visit and how it can benefit them in managing their health, whether it’s virtual or in-person.

Regardless of where and how our customers receive their care, our Language Assistance Services ensure clear, simple communication for families covered by Cigna with limited English proficiency (LEP) and disabilities to improve communication and health outcomes.  

Data and Analytics

Cigna’s transformative, differentiated approach to data and analytics enables customer populations to be analyzed according to our proprietary Social Determinants Index (SDI). This helps us understand the specific disparities a population may face based on their geographic location and enables greater understanding of inequities between subpopulations (e.g., gender, race, and ethnicity) based on claims data.

We also use the index to identify geographic areas with an increased risk of facing SDOH-related obstacles that negatively impact health outcomes and health care utilization. With this information, we are working to enhance our clinical program offerings, close disparities, and better serve vulnerable customer populations.

  • Identify communities of Cigna customer populations whose overall health status and utilization are impacted by SDOH and determine if additional resources need to be deployed. 
  • Identify customers who are at increased risk for poor health and utilization based on their residence and for whom personalized solutions may need to be arranged to achieve better health and affordability.

By incorporating the SDI to predictive models and case management programs, we’re improving our ability to identify and prioritize customers at increased risk for poor health outcomes and utilization, so we can then deploy additional support and resources to them to create measurable change.

Giving

We have a deep commitment to contributing to a society that is more socially just, healthier, and working towards health equity for all. Through our Corporate Charitable Giving and the Cigna Foundation, we support nonprofits in communities that provide important services and resources to address SDOH that contribute to poor health outcomes and inequity.

Working Together

Everyone deserves the opportunity to find their best path to health and wellness. It is possible to achieve better outcomes for all by identifying the environmental and social obstacles that may be impeding employees’ progress. Working together, we can change lives for the better.

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Related Links

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Building Equity and Equality Program Cigna Foundation

Related Resources

Cigna Newsroom Cultural Competency and Health Equity Resources

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Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities  that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

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