Monday, March 13, 2006

Cigna Expands Maternity Program

An informative press release for expectant mothers looking for affordable and comprehensive health insurance coverage...

CIGNA HealthCare Expands Maternity Program
New Program Offers Members Incentives to Enroll Earlier for More Targeted Interventions

BLOOMFIELD, Conn., March 10, 2006 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- To help prevent complications during pregnancy and birth, CIGNA HealthCare today announced the launch of CIGNA Healthy Pregnancies, Healthy Babies, a comprehensive maternity management program that expands services offered to expectant members to help improve their chances of having healthy pregnancies and deliveries.

Approximately 4 million babies are born in the United States each year.(1) Of these, an estimated one in eight babies will be born prematurely and an estimated 31 percent of women will suffer some form of complication during pregnancy.(2) Many birth complications, which can potentially result in significant harm to mother or child and additional health care costs, can be prevented with proper prenatal care. "The greatest opportunity to impact pregnancy outcomes is in the first trimester and the early part of the second trimester," said Jeff Kang, MD, chief medical officer, CIGNA HealthCare. "Our goal is to identify expectant mothers at a greater risk for complications and lower their risk of complications with patient education, wellness programs and targeted support from nurse case managers."


Employers are excited about the program. "About 50% of Cisco's annual medical claims costs are related to pregnancy. If we can help our members ensure they are receiving appropriate medical care and follow up, we are hopeful we can help our mothers have healthy pregnancies and fewer premature infants. With appropriate outreach by CIGNA, and a financial incentive added to the program, we will encourage our employees to participate in this program. We will track results over time to better understand what works and what does not so we can work with CIGNA to improve the program in the years ahead," said Pamela Hymel, MD, Cisco's Medical Director, Integrated Health. The CIGNA Healthy Pregnancies, Healthy Babies program aims to identify members with risk factors so they can begin a plan of care early on that could help minimize potential complications or premature births.

CIGNA's expanded program will provide incentives for members to participate in the program early in their pregnancy. The new program will be available for plans that take effect beginning January 1, 2007. To encourage greater participation in the program, CIGNA is offering eligible members incentives to join the program. These incentives may come in the form of reimbursement of medical expenses, additional contributions to a member's Health Reimbursement Arrangement or other incentive arrangement.

To encourage members to join the program early in their pregnancy, the value of the incentives would be greater for members the earlier they join the program. Members must complete the program through the postpartum assessment to receive the incentive payment. In addition to helping members have a healthy pregnancy and birth, this program helps employers avoid potentially significant costs associated with prematurity.

According to the March of DimesĀ®, employers pay nearly 15 times more for babies born prematurely in their first year of life than for full-term babies. Beyond the direct cost to business, premature birth also causes lost productivity. The March of Dimes estimates that premature babies spend nearly 17 days in the hospital in their first year of life, compared to two to three for full-term babies, and they visit the doctor's office 50 percent more often, resulting in more time away from work for parents.

The CIGNA Healthy Pregnancies, Healthy Babies program helps reduce the financial and emotional toll of pregnancy complications for families and helps employers track and reduce potentially high health and productivity costs.
Eligible members can enroll in the program by contacting CIGNA HealthCare Member Services to be connected to the CIGNA Healthy Pregnancies, Healthy Babies team.

Once enrolled, members undergo a comprehensive health screening and receive a health management plan tailored to their needs: Those identified as being at low risk for pregnancy complications will receive preventive education and screenings at enrollment, five months gestation, seven months gestation and postpartum.

Participants identified as having moderate risk for pregnancy
complications will receive additional interventions and monthly
outreach specifically targeted to their needs.

Those identified as being at high risk for complications will be
referred to CIGNA HealthCare's High Risk Maternity Program, part of
CIGNA HealthCare's specialty case management program, to work with
nurse case managers and their treating providers on a more intensive
support plan based on identified risk factors. Members with specific
medical conditions that impact pregnancy outcomes, such as diabetes or
pregnancy-induced hypertension, will receive support and care
coordination to ensure they understand their conditions and are able to
adhere to treatment recommended by their providers.

The program will draw upon data and resources available through CIGNA HealthCare and CIGNA business units specializing in disability, behavioral health, pharmacy management and dental care. With the integration of information from all of these health-related areas, CIGNA Healthy Pregnancies, Healthy Babies clinicians will be able to better understand the full scope of an expectant member's condition and care to help coordinate the appropriate resources from many health disciplines for the member. CIGNA HealthCare also offers the following programs that promote the health and wellness of members. These programs continue to be available to expectant members:

CIGNA HealthCare Healthy BabiesĀ® -- This program provides members
with education on healthy behaviors during pregnancy. The Healthy
Babies education kit includes information on depression, stress and
dental care during pregnancy, and materials from the March of Dimes.

CIGNA HealthCare 24-Hour Health Information Line(SM) -- Members can
reach a nurse to ask health care questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a
week, from anywhere in the U.S. The service also offers a recorded
audiotape library of over 1,000 different topics.

myCIGNA.com -- CIGNA's personalized web portal, myCIGNA.com, gives
members access to a suite of online decision support and health
maintenance tools from WebMD Health. Members can use these tools to
assess their health, determine their risk for health problems, and
receive customized information to help them take action to improve
their overall health. In addition, CIGNA works to raise awareness of the risks of prematurity by supporting the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign and as a leading fundraising team at WalkAmerica, the March of Dimes' annual fundraising walk- a-thon. Since 1995, CIGNA and its employees have contributed $17.5 million to the March of Dimes.


CIGNA HealthCare, headquartered in Bloomfield, CT, provides medical benefits plans, dental coverage, behavioral health coverage, pharmacy benefits and products and services that integrate and analyze information to support consumerism and health advocacy. "CIGNA HealthCare" refers to various operating subsidiaries of CIGNA Corporation (NYSE: CI). Products and services are provided by these operating subsidiaries and not by CIGNA Corporation.

(1) Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Health Statistics, based on 2003 data.

(2) Danel, Isabella, MS, MD, Berg, Cynthia, MD, MPH, Johnson, Christopher,
MS and Atrash, Hani, MD; "Magnitude of Maternal Morbidity During Labor
and Delivery: United States, 1993-1997," American Public Health
Association, 2003.

SOURCE: CIGNA HealthCare