Cigna ACO Showing Higher Quality, Lower Costs in First Year

CONCORD, N.H. & BLOOMFIELD, Conn., December 11, 2013 – Cigna today is reporting on the first-year results from its collaborative accountable care initiative with Granite Healthcare Network (GHN), a partnership among five independent charitable health care organizations in New Hampshire.

According to a Cigna release, the program is making strides toward achieving its goals of improved healthaffordability and patient experience.They also say the initiative has helped GHN deliver a higher level of care in New Hampshire while controlling total medical costs for its 30,000 patients who are covered by a Cigna health plan.

Cigna noted that when the program started last year, it evaluated how well GHN followed nationally recognized evidence based medicine guidelines (a measure of quality) and Continue reading

Cigna and Samsung Team Up to Deliver Digital Health Improvement Platform

Global health service company Cigna and the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile devices,Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., announced they have signed a multi-year agreement to co-develop health and wellness related features built into Samsung’s S Health on Samsung’s major smart mobile devices.

According to a CIGNA release, the initial development is focused on delivering health-related tips and articles through the Samsung S Health Application, with an ultimate goal of connecting individuals with caregivers, doctors and hospitals to improve health and wellness globally.

Cigna content is incorporated into Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in select countries, including United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain beginning in October 2013. Over the next year, additional co-developed functions and features will find their way to Samsung’s mobile devices worldwide.

 

Cigna Starts Accountable Care Plan in San Franciso Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif., October 14, 2013 – Cigna (NYSE: CI) and Santa Clara County IPA (SCCIPA) have launched a collaborative accountable care initiative to improve patient access to health care, enhance care coordination, and achieve the “triple aim” of improved health, affordability and patient experience. The program became effective October 1, and is Cigna’s third accountable care initiative in the San Francisco Bay Area.

According to a company announcement, collaborative accountable care is Cigna’s approach to accomplishing the same population health goals as accountable care organizations, or ACOs. The program will benefit more than 13,000 individuals covered by a Cigna PPO health plan who receive care from SCCIPA’s 850 primary care doctors and specialists.

See the full story at Newsroom.Cigna.com.

Cigna and Socialwellth to Unveil Marketplace for Health Apps

Global health service company Cigna  and digital health social engagement company SocialWellth™ are co-creating a selective and curated Go You Cigna Marketplace™ that cuts through the clutter of mobile health apps.   Cigna customers looking to improve their health and well-being will have easy access to balanced living apps that are certified as being effective and most engaging.

Go You Cigna Marketplace health apps are certified to help ensure consumers find effective, high quality apps with the appropriate clinical content.  SocialWellth’s certification process leverages behavioral psychologists, information architects and other internal and external subject matter experts. Using quick-polls, the marketplace initiates a digital dialog with consumers to gain insights that will ultimately drive a hyper-personalized experience.

See the full story at SocialWellth.com

 

CIGNA and Merck Help Customers Better Manage Diabetes

BLOOMFIELD, Conn., October 28, 2010 – The first national outcome-based contract between a pharmaceutical company and a pharmacy benefit management company (press release) resulted in an increase in the number of people with type 2 diabetes who were able to control their blood sugar levels by taking their medications appropriately. Extensive studies have shown that lowering blood sugar levels and increasing medication adherence results in better health for people who have diabetes. Blood sugar is generally considered under control when it is less than 8 percent.

The CIGNA (NYSE:CI) results demonstrated improved blood sugar levels of more than 5 percent for those continuously enrolled in the program regardless of which diabetes drug they were taking. Customers who actively participated in CIGNA’s diabetes support program were 3 percent more likely to have their blood sugar under control than those who were not in the program. There was also a 4.5 percent increase in blood sugar lab testing during the period.

“Merck is pleased to partner with CIGNA on this program,” said Sethu Reddy, M.D., MBA, FRCPC, FACP, MACE, vice president medical affairs, Merck. “As the number of people with diabetes continues to increase in the United States and globally, achieving blood sugar control and increasing adherence to diabetes treatment regimens are important goals for patients with type 2 diabetes and their doctors.”

Medication adherence was 87 percent for people taking Januvia® (sitagliptin) and Janumet® (sitagliptin/metformin), Merck’s oral anti-diabetes medications. The medications are used in conjunction with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes, a condition that has reached epidemic proportions in the United States.

“Because CIGNA is able to coordinate data and resources within our company, we are better able to support the health needs of the whole person,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kang, CIGNA’s chief medical officer. “By integrating medical and pharmacy programs, we can identify people who may need extra support early in the diagnosis and progression of their diabetes, which means customers can potentially stay healthier longer.”

Kang said CIGNA is uniquely positioned in the industry to successfully complete an outcome-based contract, and that this is the first of what the company expects will be many more such contracts with pharmaceutical manufacturers. “It’s a key aspect of the future of pharmacy contracting,” added Kang.

The two-part contract with Merck provided discounts if CIGNA customers with diabetes lowered their blood sugar levels, regardless of the medication they were taking, and also provided for additional discounts if people who were prescribed Merck’s drugs Januvia and Janumet took their medications according to their physicians’ instructions. Discounts will be shared in various ways with CIGNA employer clients.

Kang said that the idea of paying less for medications if they are successful is counter-intuitive and not at all like other performance-based contracts on the market today. What makes this unique approach so successful is that everyone’s incentives line up behind helping customers keep their diabetes under control. CIGNA’s costs are lowered, medication adherence increases, resulting in health benefits for individuals and improved productivity and lower health care costs for their employers.

The importance of helping people with diabetes take medications appropriately and monitor and control blood sugar levels cannot be over-estimated. According to a study published in the June 2005 edition of Medical Care, quality of life improves dramatically and estimated savings for individuals and employers could be up to $8,000 per person when medication adherence is between 80 and 100 percent. These savings are primarily due to reduced hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

CIGNA offers a range of programs that coordinate pharmacy, medical and behavioral clinical programs, including outreach to customers to support them in their journey to better health. Programs include:

CIGNA’s Well Informed program identifies potential gaps, omissions, and errors in an individual’s health care through analysis of medical, behavioral, pharmacy and lab data. When a gap is found, CIGNA contacts the individual and his or her doctor to inform them so that necessary adjustments to the individual’s treatment plan can be made.

CIGNA Well Aware for Better Health®, CIGNA’s chronic condition support program, helps people who have chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, depression and weight complications better manage their conditions. Through this program, CIGNA offers access to a personal, experienced nurse and provides reminders about important tests and exams. Well Aware can help people with chronic conditions follow their doctors’ plan of treatment, avoid complications and improve their quality of life.

CIGNA Pharmacy Management’s CoachRx program involves reaching out to individuals who are not on track with their medication schedule. Online tools and pharmacy coaches are available to help people overcome challenges maintaining their medication schedule, change behaviors and, ultimately, improve their health.

About CIGNA

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. 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.

Combining CIGNA Pharmacy and Medical Plans Proven to Yield Healthy Savings

Individuals who have a health plan that offers both medical and pharmacy benefits that are designed to work together are far more likely to obtain necessary care, according to data presented today at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) 15th Annual International Meeting. ”Gaps in care”, including not taking medications appropriately or getting necessary lab tests associated with chronic conditions such as diabetes or high cholesterol, are more likely to occur when health and pharmacy benefits are provided by different companies.

The results of the CIGNA analysis showed that individuals in health plans that combine medical and pharmacy benefits from the same company were 2.8% more likely to close gaps in their health care than those in plans where the pharmacy benefit is not integrated with the medical benefit or where pharmacy claims data is imported from another pharmacy benefit management company. By closing gaps in health care, individuals are more likely to be able to prevent complications or the progression of their conditions. The improvements in obtaining necessary care by condition were:

  • 14% higher for individuals with asthma
  • 11.7% higher for individuals with chronic renal failure (CRF)
  • 7.6% higher for individuals with hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • 7.4% higher for individuals with coronary artery disease (CAD)
  • 7.0% higher for individuals with hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol)
  • 6.5% higher for individuals with diabetes

The analysis, “Pharmacy Benefit Integration and Adherence to Evidence-Based Medicine in a Commercially-Insured Population,” was authored by Thomas J. Bunz, Pharm.D., Clinical Program Manager and co-authored by Ha V. Nguyen, senior informatics specialist, CIGNA Pharmacy Management. The abstract for this analysis was published in the May 2010 issue of Value in Health.

Integrated benefits provide the best possible connection between data, systems, people, and programs. However, to date, there has been little data to back up the assertion that these connections result in improved clinical outcomes for individuals. “The data in this analysis supports the assertion that the connection between pharmacy and medical benefits really does make a difference,” concluded Dr. Bunz. “By improving people’s health and reducing costs, we are helping to improve the quality of their lives.”

About the analysis

A retrospective cohort analysis was conducted on 262,000 individuals with medical coverage in 2008 from 25 integrated and 15 carve-out clients. Criteria included 12 months of continuous enrollment with the same employer with either an integrated or carve-out pharmacy benefit, clean demographic data, and enrollment in the CIGNA Gaps in Care program. A gap in care was defined as any month where an individual was found to be not in compliance with an applicable evidence-based rule. A closed gap was any gap in care where the individual was non-compliant in one or more months, and then compliant with the rule for the remaining months of the study year. A two part regression model (logistic regression analysis and generalized linear model) and recycled predictions were required to control for potential confounders.

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. To learn more about CIGNA, visit www.cigna.com.

CIGNA Expands Onsite Health Programs.

Bringing health and wellness programs directly to the workplace is the work of CIGNA Onsite Health, which has built an extensive suite of onsite capabilities as an integral part of the health management programs CIGNA (NYSE:CI) provides to employers and their workers. CIGNA said it is expanding these onsite capabilities through the acquisition of Kronos Optimal Health Company, a Phoenix-based health and wellness company that specializes in lifestyle management programs, face-to-face coaching, biometric screenings and health education programs.

“Creating the right avenue for individuals to get involved in improving health means offering different ways they can do so, based on their own personal preference, whether that’s over the phone, online, or in person,”  said Kurt Weimer, president, CIGNA Onsite Health. “With the addition of Kronos to the CIGNA team, we can now offer our onsite services on a larger scale. We can also integrate these services with our other health management programs most effectively to help drive engagement and improve the health and well-being of the people we serve.”

CIGNA Onsite Health offers full-service onsite clinics, pharmacy services, one-on-one health coaching, biometric screenings and flu shots and onsite/online health improvement programs delivered in a classroom setting, as well as employee assistance programs (EAPs). It is led by a management team with 40 years experience in operating multi-specialty group practices, urgent care centers, pharmacies, laboratory services and convenience care clinics.

Weimer said that employers are growing increasingly proactive about prevention, recognizing that many of the leading causes of illness, disability and premature death in the United States are largely preventable. He also said that employers also recognize that people are more likely to be on the job and performing well if they’re healthy in mind and spirit, and many companies continue to invest in worksite health and wellness programs with an eye toward making it more convenient and cost effective for employees to take care of basic health care needs during the work day.

Eemployers enhancing onsite offerings

According to a recent report by Watson Wyatt (now part of Towers Watson) and the National Business Group on Health, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of employers have already enhanced their onsite offerings with programs geared toward stress management, EAPs or health coaches, or expect to do so in the next 12 months. The report also concludes that companies with effective health and productivity programs are also more likely to have lower health care costs, lower levels of absenteeism and presenteeism, fewer lost days due to disabilities and lower levels of turnover relative to their industry peers.1

Weimer said that while employers’ investments in worksite wellness programs have continued even despite the economic downturn, key challenges for employers include:

* ensuring all of the different programs they offer are coordinated and information is integrated;
* encouraging employees to actively participate in the programs so that health improvement and productivity savings can be realized; and,
* measuring the collective return on investment for all of their health and productivity programs.

“Working with one health service company to give employees a range of services helps provide the consistency, referral coordination and holistic clinical approach that many employers are seeking, especially if they have employees in multiple locations,” Weimer said. “It also streamlines communications with employees to raise their awareness of the programs available to them, and better enables the measurement and reporting of program outcomes.”

Health Plans React to Earthquake Crisis in Haiti.

At least three of the nation’s large health plans have reacted to the earthquake crisis in Haiti by providing resources and donations.

Aetna (NYSE: AET) announced that it has opened its employee assistance programs to all members, employees and their families who may have loved ones affected by the earthquake in Haiti.

The company is also reaching out to its customers with employees in Haiti to offer medical evacuation for those injured and other assistance.

“We are greatly saddened by this tragedy, and we extend our thoughts and deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those affected,” said Chairman and CEO Ronald A. Williams. “Our members and employees with family members in Haiti are of the utmost concern to us, and we are committed to supporting them through this difficult time.”

Additionally, The Aetna Foundation has initiated a dollar-for-dollar match for employee disaster relief donations to help the relief efforts in Haiti. Aetnas Community Relations group has activated its 47 Aetna Volunteer Councils to engage with relief agencies to respond to this disaster by collecting goods and funds and offering other assistance.

In a similar announcement, The Humana Foundation, philanthropic arm of Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), said that it is contributing $100,000 for immediate support of earthquake-relief efforts in Haiti. The Foundation will also match dollar for dollar contributions from Humana associates up to $50,000 for a total possible Humana Foundation donation of $150,000.

Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti, their loved ones and friends, said Virginia Kelly Judd, executive director of The Humana Foundation. We hope our gift along with all of the other aid coming in from countries worldwide will make a meaningful difference as the people of Haiti begin what is sure to be a long, difficult recovery from this weeks earthquake.

The CIGNA Foundation also announced that it is making an immediate donation of $50,000 to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts and aid victims of the earthquake. In addition, the CIGNA Foundation has pledged an additional $50,000 to the American Red Cross to match CIGNA employee donations to the Haitian relief efforts.

A fundamental tenet of CIGNA’s mission is to serve. The devastation in Haiti is beyond words, said David M. Cordani, president and CEO of CIGNA. I’ve always been proud that when people around the world are in need, CIGNA’s people step up to offer what they can.

In addition to the donations, CIGNA is offering disaster-related educational tools and counseling resources through its employee assistance program to ensure that its clients, customers and their families have access to needed services.

About the Aetna Foundation

The Aetna Foundation is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. Founded in 1972, the Foundation promotes wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for everyone, while supporting the communities Aetna serves. The Foundation’s 2010 giving will focus on addressing the rising rate of obesity in the U.S., promoting racial and ethnic equity in health care, and advancing integrated health care. Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed over $359 million in grants and sponsorships, and will give up to $18.5 million in 2009. For more information on the Aetna Foundation visit www.aetnafoundation.org.

About Aetna

Aetna is one of the nations leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.3 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com.

About The Humana Foundation

The Humana Foundation was established in 1981 as the philanthropic arm of Humana Inc., one of the nations leading health-benefits companies. The Foundation is located in Louisville, Ky., the site of Humanas corporate headquarters. The Foundations mission is to support charitable activities that promote healthy lives and healthy communities. For more information, visit www.humanafoundation.org.

About Humana

Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is one of the nations largest publicly traded health and supplemental benefits companies, with approximately 10.3 million medical members and approximately 7.3 million specialty-benefit members. Humana is a full-service benefits solutions company, offering a wide array of health and supplemental benefit plans for employer groups, government programs and individuals.

Over its 49-year history, Humana has consistently seized opportunities to meet changing customer needs. Today, the company is a leader in consumer engagement, providing guidance that leads to lower costs and a better health plan experience throughout its diversified customer portfolio.

About CIGNA Foundation

The CIGNA Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to enhancing the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of their communities, with a special focus on those communities where CIGNA employees live and work.