Removing barriers to health is at the forefront of what drives The Cigna Group to be a better partner. We know that not everyone starts from the same social standing or environment. True health equity will come when no one is prevented from reaching their full health potential because of these factors.
Healthy employees are healthy for business, and their wellness begins with where they live, work, learn, and play. Environmental factors, socioeconomic status, education, and neighborhood attributes, known as social determinants of health (SDOH), have a greater impact on population health than biology or clinical care. Addressing SDOH that impact access and engagement, play a critical role in achieving optimal health, wellness and vitality.
Health disparities are avoidable and unfair health differences between segments of the population. They can negatively affect groups of people who have experienced greater social and/or economic obstacles to accessing car because of race, ethnicity, education, literacy, income level, language, culture, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, cognitive, sensory, or physical disabilities, and geographic location. SDOH are conditions and environmental factors that disproportionately affect populations impacted by health disparities, putting them at risk for experiencing worse health outcomes.
Health equity is achieved when all people are able to reach their highest level of health. To achieve true health equity, we must not only address these complex societal and environmental factors, but we also must make care more accessible and easier to engage with for all people.
A person’s gender, race, education, income, or zip code should never dictate the quality of their health. We have a responsibility to our clients, customers, and communities to expand and create solutions and benefits to address health inequities where we know they exist.
We believe that closing gaps in health equity starts from within, which is why we’ve committed to empowering our staff to approach their work through an equity lens. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council of The Cigna Group integrates our DEI strategy with the mission, strategies, and business objectives of The Cigna Group.
Our Maternal Health Program promotes healthy birth outcomes and maternal care for African American/Black and Hispanic/Latino women by collaborating with providers for earlier identification to provide risk screenings, free prenatal vitamins and aspirin to prevent preeclampsia, behavioral screenings, oral health, and nutrition education/support. We plan to expand this program in additional markets.
The Diabetes Management Program reduces health inequities with personalized support by matching diabetic customers with community health workers in higher risk SDOH communities (Memphis, TN and Houston, TX) who understand our customers' cultural nuances and connect them to benefits, services, and SDOH resources/support for better health outcomes.
LGBTQ+ Health Programs address health disparities faced by the LGBTQ+ community. We’ve expanded our provider directory to display providers experienced in caring for LGBTQ+ patients, implemented case management support specific to transgender customer needs, and My Personal Champion® program makes gender-affirming care as easy as possible, including hormone and speech therapy and mental health services. We also offer transgender inclusion awareness training for The Cigna Group staff and provide additional LGBTQ+ resources to providers.
We recognize and respect our customers’ unique needs by screening for SDOH in our care management programs and providing referrals for support when needs are identified.
The Cigna Group supports our clients by collaborating with them and their employees to develop tools and resources that improve population health management. This includes direct support in the development of tools that help our clients target and address specific SDOH and health disparities in their workforce.
We've also created community resources for clients to share with their employees: National Patient Resources and FindHelp. These community resources are also available for providers to share with their patients.
We engage our diverse provider network for positive outcomes. In our Cigna Collaborative Care (CCC) model, we help eliminate disparities by giving providers data and insights, rewarding them for SDOH screenings/referrals, identifying disparities, and creating action plans to address gaps. We’ve also developed an abundance of cultural competency and health equity resources for providers, including information on health disparities within African-American/Black communities, South Asian communities, and Hispanic/Latino communities, as well as a SDOH Guide for addressing SDOH within their practice.
We recognize that the digital divide exacerbates health disparities and are committed to the development of digital solutions that promote health equity.
The Virtual Care Made Easy video helps customers learn what telehealth is, how to prepare for the virtual experience, making the most of time with your doctor, and practical steps that can lead to a successful outcome. Use this as a tool to drive health equity, by supporting digital health literacy and encouraging use of virtual care. The success of virtual care is dependent on three things: access to broadband/data, access to devices, and digital health literacy. (2:15) View transcript [PDF]
Regardless of where and how our customers receive their care, our Language Assistance Services ensure clear, simple communication for families covered by The Cigna Group with limited English proficiency (LEP) and disabilities to improve communication and health outcomes.
Our transformative, differentiated approach to data and analytics enables customer populations to be analyzed according to our proprietary Social Determinants Index (SDI). This helps us understand the specific disparities a population may face based on their geographic location and enables greater understanding of inequities between subpopulations (e.g., gender, race, and ethnicity) based on claims data.
We also use the index to identify geographic areas with an increased risk of facing SDOH-related obstacles that negatively impact health outcomes and health care utilization. With this information, we are working to enhance our clinical program offerings, close disparities, and better serve vulnerable customer populations.
By incorporating the SDI to predictive models and case management programs, we’re improving our ability to identify and prioritize customers at increased risk for poor health outcomes and utilization, so we can then deploy additional support and resources to them to create measurable change.
We’re making powerful connections that positively impact the health of all people affected by SDOH, their communities, and their environment. Through our Corporate Charitable Giving and The Cigna Group Foundation, we’re expanding and accelerating diversity support, investing in nonprofits to improve SDOH in local communities, building economic growth within diverse communities and connecting customers with community resources to help them access transportation, food assistance, and more.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to find their best path to health and wellness. By working together and making health care more accessible for all people and engaging them in their health, we can help our customers achieve their full health potential–regardless of their social, economic, or environmental circumstances.
© 2023 The Cigna Group