PHILADELPHIA, January 03, 2011 - Cigna (NYSE: CI) expanded its industry-leading Cigna Dental Cigna Dental Oral Health Integration Program® effective Jan. 1, 2011. Designed to improve people's overall health through better oral health, the program became available to all Cigna Dental DHMO, DPPO, DEPO and Indemnity customers with qualifying medical conditions, who will no longer need to be enrolled in a Cigna medical plan to utilize the program. The upgraded Cigna Dental Oral Health Integration Program® also offers access to additional dental procedures such as fluoride treatment and sealants, special discounts for prescription and non-prescription products, and provides behavioral health information for conditions impacting oral health.
The core component of the program will continue to offer 100 percent reimbursement of customers' out-of-pocket dental costs for certain dental services if they have any of the specified medical conditions.
"Working with the experts on Cigna's Dental Clinical Advisory Panel, we created the program in response to emerging evidence that demonstrates a connection between oral health and other health conditions," said Dr. Miles Hall, chief dental clinical director for Cigna. "Now we have the opportunity to help even more people understand that good oral health can have a positive impact on good overall health, while also offering even more resources and tools to help customers."
Cigna regularly reviews new clinical research indicating associations between oral health and certain medical conditions. Research has linked gum disease to complications with heart disease, cerebrovascular (stroke), diabetes, preterm birth, pre-eclampsia and other health issues. Additionally, studies have shown that patients with head and neck cancer radiation, organ transplants and chronic kidney disease are frequently prone to xerostomia (dry mouth), a condition associated with a higher risk for dental cavities.
When it first launched in July 2006, the Cigna Dental Oral Health Integration Program® provided enhanced dental coverage for the treatment of gum (periodontal) disease to pregnant women and people with cardiovascular disease and diabetes who were enrolled in both dental and medical plans from Cigna. The enhanced program will now be extended to customers with cerebrovascular disease (more commonly known as a stroke), head and neck cancer radiation treatment, organ transplants or chronic kidney disease.
"By treating oral health proactively for people who have these conditions, we can help them avoid illnesses and complications," said Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat, professor and dean emeritus of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, and Cigna Dental Clinical Advisory Panel member. "For instance, several of these conditions cause patients to be more prone to frequent dry mouth, a condition associated with a higher risk of dental cavities. As another example, it's recommended that transplant patients receive aggressive oral care before surgery because immunosuppressant drugs decrease a patient's ability to resist infection."
Through collaboration with Cigna's behavioral health team, the new Cigna Dental Oral Health Integration Program® also includes articles on behavioral issues linked to oral health such as stress, fear of going to the dentist, and tobacco use. The guidance for these issues provides customers with information about the challenges they face, how those conditions may relate to their oral health, and also lists suggested techniques to address potential concerns.
For program participants with chronic oral conditions such as dry mouth, a dentist may recommend prescriptions for fluoride toothpaste, gels and mouthwashes, and anti-bacterial rinses. Under the enhanced program, participants may receive a discount of as much as 50 percent on dental prescriptions using the Cigna Home Delivery Pharmacy. Customers can also receive discounts and free samples of non-prescription dental products designed for individuals who are at a higher risk for dental cavities, from nationally recognized companies such as Procter & Gamble and Nuvora.
Customers can find more information online at http://www.mycigna.com.
Cigna (NYSE: CI) is a global health service and financial company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. Cigna Corporation's operating subsidiaries in the United States provide an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits, as well as group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna offers products and services in over 27 countries and jurisdictions and has approximately 60 million customer relationships throughout the world. All products and services are provided exclusively by such operating subsidiaries and not by Cigna Corporation. To learn more about Cigna, visit www.cigna.com. To sign up for email alerts or an RSS feed of company news, log on to http://www.cigna.com/newsroom/rss. Also, follow us on Twitter at @cigna, visit Cigna's YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/cigna and listen to Cigna's podcast series with healthy tips and information at http://www.cigna.com/podcasts or by searching "Cigna" in iTunes.
About the Cigna Dental Clinical Advisory Panel
The Cigna Dental Clinical Advisory panel helps to create innovative approaches to new technologies, medical/dental integration and evidence-based strategies. Organized by Cigna, this independent panel consists of leaders in the dental profession, many of whom are published authors and have served in leadership roles within their specialty or the American Dental Association. Several panel members have current academic appointments in major schools of dentistry, including the University of Pennsylvania, Tufts, SUNY, and UCLA.