Case Study: Helping Employees and Employers Navigate Caregiving

In 2020, Cigna explored the impacts of caregiving on employees and employers. This is particularly relevant as COVID-19 has turned many employees into caregivers. Our research showed that 30 percent of American adults care for a sick or disabled relative and 20 percent of these individuals are employees.1,2 These caregivers spend, on average, $7,000 on out-of-pocket expenses yearly, are at an increased risk of suffering from depression, and spend between 20 - 39 hours a week on caregiving.3 The impacts of caregiving also cascade into the workplace and onto employers. Employee caregivers have 8 percent higher total medical costs, are three times more likely to take short-term disability leave, and are 83 percent more likely to leave a job for better family benefits.4,5

To support caregivers and employers, Cigna created and launched two tools – designed to provide different levels of support to caregivers:

  • The Caregiver HelpHub - Provides digital cognitive behavioral therapy with quality clinical experts. The tool’s benefits include:
    • Employees can customize their experience based on their engagement preference.
    • Coaches are available to help with goal setting and one-on-one coaching.
    • Employees can check in at any time and track changes to their well-being.
    • Digital interface with coaches is provided through Vela, a HIPAA-secure communication application available 24/7, for real-time coaching, and through Geriatric Care Assist.
  • Caregiver Bridge - Offers all of the benefits contained in Caregiver HelpHub, but replaces the Geriatric Care Assist program with one-on-one Caregiver Coaches. Users reported significant improvements in their caregiving experience, including:
    • Access to a designated team of behavioral licensed clinicians, nurses, and social workers who all have experienced their own caregiving journey – available by telephone and digitally – for more intensive clinical support.
    • Guidance to additional state and federal resources that may be available.
    • Support from a Cigna Caregiver Coach for as long as it’s needed throughout the caregiving journey.
  • Caregivers who use both products/services reported significant improvements in their caregiving experience, including:
    • 86 percent of caregivers feel more connected to their care coaches and say they can better communicate with them;
    • 89 percent of caregivers feel they have a more accurate, detailed record of member’s care in Vela;
    • 88 percent of caregivers feel they can better impact the health of their loved ones;
    • 89 percent of caregivers report having faster, easier access to their coaches; and
    • 89 percent of caregivers would recommend Vela to another caregiver.6

1The National Business Group on Health, The Impact of Caregiving on Work, 2018.

2Family Caregiver Alliance,

3AARP and National Alliance for Caregiving. Caregiving in the United States 2020. Washington, DC: AARP. May 2020

4The National Business Group on Health, The Impact of Caregiving on Work, 2018.

5The Standard, Why is Paid Family Leave so Important for all Generations?, December 2018.

6Seniorlink, Data on file, 2019