Cigna’s employer customers are demanding more behavioral health services as rates of anxiety and depression among employees continue to soar.
Earlier this year, the company announced that it expanded its behavioral health provider network by 30%, and these efforts are likely to continue.
“As we look forward to 2024, we know that in addition to affordability,” David Cordani, Cigna’s president and CEO, said during the company’s Q3 earnings call, “one of the top priorities for many employers is expanding access, coordination and overall effectiveness of behavioral health programs and solutions.”
Specifically, Cigna is looking to provide services to its employer customers that can address stress, anxiety and other mental health conditions through its health service division, Evernorth.
One of the ways it plans to do this is through digital services.
In 2021, Cigna launched its behavioral health navigator service Confide, which offers 24/7 access to care teams that can triage a patient’s symptoms and help connect them to care. Cordani touted the tool as a way to help patients be more proactive and engaged with care.
The payer plans to double down on this service and add more capabilities to it.
“We will launch additional enhancements next year to provide digital tools that are personalized to the needs of individual patients that improve matching them with the right therapists,” Cordani said, “and also offer greater convenience and accelerated scheduling opportunities.”
The company’s other digital initiatives include purchasing virtual health company MDLive, which provides urgent care, primary care and behavioral health services. It also has several partnerships with external behavioral health providers, including Bicycle Health, NOCD and Pelago.
Behavioral health will also be a big focus in Evernorth’s ‘vitality’ push. The health service provider created a vitality index that helps measure a person’s emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual capacities.
Evernorth uses the vitality score to help understand a person’s whole health, as well as population health in a workplace or community.
“As we continue to advance our focus on vitality, including our latest research addressing the capacity of individuals across multiple dimensions, it reinforces that mental health, for example, is one of the most significant drivers,” Cordani said. “We know that adults without significant mental health challenges are 10x more likely to have high vitality. Now if you’re an employer, this means higher engagement, higher productivity, lower turnover, as well as lower medical costs.”
Cigna reported $49 billion in total revenue in the third quarter, with shareholder’s net income for the third quarter coming in at $1.4 billion.