BLOOMFIELD, Conn., November 09, 2010 – CIGNA (NYSE: CI) announced today that it will expand access to its CIGNA Cost of Care Estimator® through four of the largest health information networks in the U.S.: Availity, NaviNet, Passport Health Communications Inc. and RealMed (an Availity Company). These companies service 90 percent of America’s physician practices, hospitals, and clinical facilities.
“The CIGNA Cost of Care Estimator is delivering on our promise to both our contracted physicians and our customers to make our health plans transparent,” said James Nastri, CIGNA vice president of product and service transparency. “By opening access to Estimator through the nation’s largest health information networks, we can help more individuals understand their plan coverage and address any cost issues upfront, so that both doctors and patients can focus on improving health rather than worrying about potential financial unknowns after the fact.”
Since it was launched nationwide in April 2009 on the CIGNA for Health Care Professionals website, (www.cignaforhcp.com), the CIGNA Cost of Care Estimator® has delivered real-time, pre-care itemized estimates of specific treatment charges and payments for 21,000 health care professionals. The Estimator’s Explanation of Estimate provides a simple, clear explanation of the key elements of payment for medical procedures and treatments and is designed to correspond with the award-winning CIGNA Explanation of Benefits.
Sekine, Rasner & Brock OB/GYN Practice Administrator Judi Lento says she prints out a CIGNA explanation of estimate for every CIGNA-covered patient: “The estimate really makes the whole process simpler for both our office and our patients. It is essential for defining the treatment, coverage and any potential out-of-pocket costs up front — so there’s no guesswork, confusion or administrative issues. Our patients really appreciate getting accurate information in advance, and the CIGNA Estimator has helped our practice save hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“The Estimator approach is truly revolutionary because unlike real-time claims adjudication, it does not require purchasing technology and re-keying information into our practice management system,” said Lento. “Because we will now be able to access CIGNA’s estimates through a multiple payer system, our office flow will be even better than before.”
The CIGNA Explanation of Estimate provides the key information individuals need to know about how their CIGNA medical benefits are applied to their physician’s services:
- Total Cost: Estimation of the total cost of services, including both the amount to be paid by CIGNA and the amount the covered individual will owe;
- Patient Cost: The anticipated amount covered individuals will owe after their plan benefits are applied to the estimated total cost, including any deductible, coinsurance, or co-payment;
- Potential Fund Payment: This displays the estimated amount to be paid automatically to the health care professional at the time the estimate is run from available funds in the covered individual’s Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA), or Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) as well as any additional funds that may be owed. Ninety-two percent of individuals enrolled in CIGNA’s consumer-driven, account-based health plans have opted for automatic claims payment.
Beginning in the fall of 2010, health care professionals have the additional option of producing estimates for their patients enrolled in CIGNA health plans in targeted markets using:
- Availity, a health information network supporting the exchange of more than one billion transactions per year on behalf of more than 200,000 physicians;
- NaviNet Network, America’s largest health care communications network that connects 70 percent of the nation’s physicians to leading health plans and information for 121 million insured patients;
- Passport Health Communications Inc., eCare Patient Access Suite includes revenue cycle software and services to help health care organizations verify patient demographic and insurance information, maintain payer compliance and accurately estimate and collect patient payments. Passport OneSource is used by one-third of all U.S. hospitals.
- RealMed, an Availity Company, delivering revenue cycle management solutions to more than 30,000 health care professionals and processing more than half a billion transactions per year.
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, through 60 million customer relationships with individuals in the U.S. and around the world. 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://newsroom.cigna.com/rss/. Also, follow us on Twitter at @cigna, visit CIGNA’s YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/cignatv and listen to CIGNA’s podcast series with healthy tips and information at http://www.cigna.com/podcasts or by searching “CIGNA” in iTunes.