Newsroom | 10 December 2009

Cigna Working to Predict, Prevent Short-Term Disability


Cigna Corporation
Jim Angstadt, 215-761-8748

PHILADELPHIA, December 10, 2009 - The average disability absence costs $35,000 in lost productivity per employee, according to the Integrated Benefits Institute.1 Cigna (NYSE:CI) today unveils a glimpse into the future- a new program that uses data analysis to predict the likelihood of a short-term disability. The power behind this model comes from the combination of predictive results with personalized outreach from nurses to those potentially at risk. Within a strict privacy framework, Cigna is piloting both components to determine the most effective mix of identification, proactive outreach programs and services that can keep short-term disabilities from happening.

"Short-term disabilities cause a productivity deficit in the workplace, and many short-term disabilities often do not register with other predictive or risk assessment tools. It's a high impact problem," said Dr. Jeff Kang, chief medical officer for Cigna.

"In addition to medical and disability claims data, this new approach complements health risk assessments and takes into account socio-economic information, demographics, behavioral health and other data to draw a more complete picture of an individual's experience, and target outreach more effectively," Kang continued.

"The ability for health professionals to identify individuals who are at increased risk for a short-term disability event while the disability may be preventable would have a tremendous value to employers and employees," said Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health. "Cigna's new program shows potential for helping employees improve their health and well-being, while helping employers protect the productivity and resiliency they need in their workers for success in this tough, global economy."

According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the overall annual cost of poor health in the workplace is estimated at $1.8 trillion.2 Meanwhile, a JHA absence management survey reports 55 percent of employee absences are blamed on disabling injuries and illnesses.3

In the current phase of program development, Cigna is matching conditions that can be predicted with the best window of opportunity to provide assistance to participating employees and help them achieve prevention. Employees who participate in the program benefit from one-to-one assistance from nurses, who develop a personalized action plan, with incentives, that addresses a potentially disabling health issue. The nurse may refer the individual to specialized Cigna programs including stay-at-work services and Cigna Pharmacy's drug therapy optimization program as well as other Cigna health advocacy programs offered by their employer.

Cigna's programs can help employees and employers maintain a healthy and productive work environment. Predicting and helping prevent short term disabilities using this new model will further deepen Cigna's ability to achieve sustained healthy results.

About Cigna

Cigna (NYSE:CI), a global health service company, is dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. Cigna Corporation's operating subsidiaries provide an integrated suite of medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits, as well as group life, accident and disability insurance, to approximately 46 million people throughout the United States and around the world. All products and services are provided exclusively by such operating subsidiaries and not by Cigna Corporation. Such operating subsidiaries include Life Insurance Company of North America, Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York, and Connecticut General Life Insurance Company. To learn more about Cigna, visit To sign up for email alerts or an RSS feed of company news, log on to

1 IBI News (September 2007), Integrated Benefits Institute

2 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (April 2009), Health and Productivity as a Business Strategy: A Multiemployer Study

3 Employee Benefit News reporting JHA 2005 Absence Management Survey, "Big-picture benefits: Integrating FMLA and disability claims data helps reduce absenteeism," by Chris Silva, September 2006