Case Study: Building Equity and Equality Program

The Building Equity and Equality Program is a five-year initiative created to grow and accelerate our efforts to support diversity, inclusion, equality, and equity for communities of color. We’re doing this by focusing on improvements to health, well-being, peace of mind, and governance. This work addresses many areas of focus.

Health

Through the Cigna Foundation, we will continue to make grants available to help eliminate barriers to health and make it easier to get care. This includes addressing needs amplified by COVID-19 through our Healthier Kids for Our Future® Initiative, which focuses on tackling the challenges affecting children’s health.

To further address health disparities, Cigna has piloted a program for minority- and women-owned small and mid-size businesses in Los Angeles. By offering customized health plans and dedicated support, we are improving the health and well-being of their workforces. Additionally, we are working with government entities to address and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care. We will also continue to share insights and solutions that address social determinants of health and strengthen the well-being of all communities.

Health Equity and Equality

Because American/Black and Hispanic/Latino customers are disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we initially targeted communities and employer populations in Memphis, Tennessee, Houston, Texas, and South Florida with our Health Improvement Tour, providing free flu shots, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other COVID-19 resources. Part of the Health Improvement Tour, Cigna’s S.A.F.E campaign suggests four simple actions that anyone can take to keep each other healthy and safe and limit the spread of COVID-19:

  • See yourself as your family’s COVID-19 protector
  • Access Cigna.com to know what to do at the first sign of symptoms
  • Find out how to help minimize your COVID-19 risk
  • Ease concerns about the cost of COVID-19 testing (no out-of-pocket costs for Cigna customers)

Well-Being

Racism and bias impact health and overall well-being.1 We believe that no one should feel the need to confront racism and bias alone. As a result, we are inviting our over 70,000 employees to sign an inclusive behavior commitment. We are also encouraging our employees to collectively donate 100,000 volunteer hours annually to justice, health equity, diversity and inclusion, and community outreach organizations. Additionally, we now require unconscious bias training for all employees, and are launching a cultural competency training for managers in 2021. We also offer regularly scheduled, inclusive discussions about systemic racism.

Educational and Economic Opportunities

Racism and bias not only impact health; they take a toll on overall well-being and, when face to face with the education system, threaten to deepen existing racial gaps. We are taking steps to help current and future generations access educational opportunities by partnering with Howard University and the School Superintendents Association. Our goal is to create educational opportunities and improve school district leadership in our nation's urban areas. We are will do this by funding fellowships for individuals pursuing careers as urban public school superintendents. Additionally, we are expanding the Cigna Supplier Mentor Protégé Program by pairing minority suppliers with Cigna executives to help participants learn ways to strengthen and grow their businesses.

Governance

As an outgrowth of our DEI program, in 2021 we are launching our Enterprise Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council and a DEI scorecard to drive strategic accountability for DEI results, provide governance on DEI efforts, and promote our internal and external communication on DEI progress. We will share data and insights to provide a valuable lens into how we continue to evolve our programs, practices, and processes to ensure that working at Cigna is a positive, equitable experience for our employees.

1Gee, G., & Ford, C. (2015, January 26). STRUCTURAL RACISM AND HEALTH INEQUITIES: Old Issues, New Directions. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4306458/.