BLOOMFIELD, Conn., October 13, 2014 - Millions of dollars each year are spent on diet and exercise websites and apps*, yet a surprisingly small percentage of Americans use them to improve their health, measure progress and achieve positive results, according to a 2014 U.S. national survey by Cigna (NYSE: CI). According to the survey, most of those who tried this year to improve their diet or fitness levels did so "on their own," are still "working on it" (74 percent) and most blame themselves for a lack of will power (40 percent) or by being distracted (42 percent).
They also say the best way to help them get on track, and stay there, is by positive reinforcement and rewards.
To help address this key customer need -- and assist employers in meeting health engagement and spending goals - Cigna will begin introducing to its 14 million U.S. employer health plan customers: Cigna Health Matterssm, a suite of health coaching tools designed to help customers set and meet health goals by matching every customer to the right tool at the right time. Included in Cigna Health Matters is a new digital ecosystem that encompasses online, mobile, social media, gamification and Web-based incentives to help Cigna customers and their families get the most out of the benefits, through improving their health and costs.
"Cigna Health Matters integrates the latest insights and practices of the sociology of engagement, motivation and rewarding behavior change with the latest in health tools and technology," says Eric Herbek, Cigna Vice President, Product Development, Consumer Health Engagement. "By combining clinical insights, health coaches, digital tools, measurement and reward engines, we have our customers' backs to help them get on the right path, and stay on it, for better health for themselves and their families."
Cigna Health Matters starts with a gamified health assessment - or health survey -- that customers engage with as they enroll in their health plan. By gamifying this process, completion rates have soared: for a typical health assessment completion rates are in the 30 percent range**, Cigna's gamified version delivers completion rates of 90 percent.
The health assessment, along with other health information such as Body Mass Index (BMI), cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as consumer engagement and preference insights are all used to create the Health Matters Score (patent pending). This new tool is designed to anticipate customer needs and provide the right tool to address those needs. The score continually evolves to reflect changes in the individual's health status and engagement preferences.
Equally important, the health assessment and score provide the insights to help Cigna coaches and clinicians identify and help people in need.
Cigna has also introduced an Apps & Activities feature: a curated health/wellness/fitness app store that provides opportunities to link the most popular and effective health improvement apps to plan-sponsored incentive programs.
To begin, customers take a survey to discover what apps and devices may best support them on their unique health journey. Recommended goals and challenges are available to complete by using the apps and devices. Customers can track their progress across all apps used, through a convenient dashboard. And they can even earn rewards for certain activities and achievements.
"This link is crucial as during the past several years, we've learned the importance of connecting health improvement to tangible, immediate, recognition and incentives," notes Herbek. "Our own web-based incentives engine delivers instant gratification once a customer achieves a particular milestone. This engine provides near real-time integrated data among our health coaches, customer service representatives and customers through myCigna."
During the first half of 2014, Cigna has administered the distribution of more than $25 million in rewards for 275,000 Cigna customers who successfully completed 532,000 health goals.
"As significant as the tangible rewards of premium discounts or fund contributions to an individual's health savings account are, the real reward is sustained health improvement and long-term healthy behavior change," said Herbek. "We are beginning to see sustained results from this combination of technology and sociology, that are critical to the health, wellness and productivity of America workers and families."
More information on how Americans are engaging in health improvement may be found in the Cigna 2014 study of Health and Financial Well-Being: How Strong is the Link; a nationwide survey of 1847 Americans ages 25-64. Survey margin of error is 2.3 percent.
Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America, Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York and their affiliates. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits, and other related products including group disability, life, and accident coverage. Cigna has sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, with approximately 85 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.