New York – July 2, 2012 – Better individual health can unlock an organization’s full potential. That was the theme of a recent forum hosted by health service company Cigna for over 200 New York-area employers and brokers who met to discuss trends in employee benefits and strategies for employee health and wellness programs.
"Employers play a critical role in helping individuals and our community to be healthy through the benefit programs and incentives they provide,” said Charlie Catalano, Cigna president and general manager for the Tri-State region. “For these programs to be most effective, they must focus on the varying needs of individuals. The result can be better health and quality of life for employees and better productivity and cost savings for employers.”
Nationally-known futurist Jim Carroll, the keynote speaker at the event, told the audience to be prepared to think in terms of bold solutions to trends shaping the future of health care, pointing to the aging of the population, the growing rates of obesity and other lifestyle-related diseases, and advances in both medical and consumer technologies. “Wellness has morphed from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ to control costs,” he said.
People who attended the Cigna forum also learned from Holly Lindvall, Corporate Director, Human Resources for HEI Hotels & Resorts about the company’s work with Cigna to promote health and wellness among employees. Lindvall said notable achievements over the first two years of the program included increasing the number of employees completing a biometric screening and health risk assessment to nearly 95 percent of those enrolled in the health plan, and reducing health risks for 39 percent of this population, as measured by the health risk assessment.
Lindvall stressed the importance of senior executive support for health and wellness programs. She encouraged attendees to liken the investment in health and wellness programs to reduce health care costs to the resources a company devotes to its workplace safety programs to manage workers’ compensation costs as one way to help gain that support.
Other topics discussed at the forum included an overview of efforts by employers, health plans and health care professionals to change the health care delivery system from one that pays for volume of care to a more collaborative system that pays for quality and value of care. Employers also learned more about the benefits of onsite programs such as health coaching offered at the workplace, told through ‘real life’ examples from a Cigna health coach.
Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits, and other related products including group disability, life, and accident coverage. Cigna has sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, with approximately 70 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.