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Health Disparities

Article | December 2020

Learn about health disparities and find resources to address health disparities among your patients.

What are health disparities?

The National Partnership for Action (NPA) has developed the following definition of health disparities:

A health disparity is a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social or economic disadvantage.1

Health disparities negatively affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater social and/or economic obstacles to health and/or a clean environment.

Such disparities are not new to health care, but COVID-19 exacerbates existing disparities in many sub-populations.

Health disparities can impact the following:

  • Racial or ethnic groups
  • Religion
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Mental health
  • Cognitive, sensory, or physical disability
  • Sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Geographic location
  • Characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion

Featured Resources

Cultural Competency

View cultural competency and health equity resources

Health Disparities: How Your Practice and Patients May Be Affected

Learn more about the impact of health disparities

Cigna Healthcare Language Assistance Services

Read about our language assistance services

COVID-19 Health Disparities

Learn more about health disparities related to COVID-19.


Delay or Avoidance of Medical Care Because of COVID-19–Related Concerns [PDF]

Health Disparities Worsened By COVID-19: Provider Resources


Questions from Cigna Healthcare Doctors: Check In On Your Emotional Health When Social Distancing

Preguntas para Chequear la Salud Emocional de Nuestros Niños


Close the Cultural Divide

How to Address Health Disparities

Cigna HealthcareSM strongly supports the American Hospital Association’s #123forEquity Pledge to Act Campaign that urges hospital and health system leaders to develop and implement strategies to:

Increase the collection, stratification, and use of race, ethnicity, language preference, and other sociodemographic data to improve quality and safety Increase cultural competency training to ensure culturally responsive care Advance diversity in leadership and governance to reflect the communities served Improve and strengthen community partnerships

Find out more about the #123forEquity Campaign

Take Action

Ready to make an action plan for your practice that addresses health disparities? Visit these resources to get started:

Building an Organizational Response to Health Disparities [PDF]

Cigna Healthcare Language Assistance Services

Cultural Competency

Health Research and Educational Trust

Health Equity for Diverse Populations

HHS Minority Health Resources

Health Literacy Toolkit

National Healthcare Disparities Report [PDF]

National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA)

Medicare Providers

Mapping Medicare Disparities Tool

More Resources on Health Equity

LGBT Health Disparities Podcast: Diabetes in South Asians Promoting Colon Cancer Screening in the African-American Community African-American Health Disparities Health Disparities in the LGBT Community Hispanic and Latino Health Disparities

Other Featured Topics

Our Response to COVID-19 Programs for Patients All Health Care Provider Resources

1 National Partnership for Action (NPA),

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