National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15, is an annual celebration to honor the history and culture of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Since 1968, this month has been a time to spotlight the many contributions of Hispanic Americans throughout history and to reflect on ways to better support and empower Hispanic Americans in the communities where we live and work.
At Cigna, diversity is a priority and an important part of our inclusive culture. We believe that diversity is more than what is on the outside, and that we grow stronger as a company from different perspectives and experiences. Cigna has a number of programs in place to ensure we are fostering a more inclusive workplace for our Hispanic coworkers and are making a positive impact on Hispanics living in the communities that we serve.
Below we share some highlights of our efforts.
Cigna Programs and Solutions That Address Hispanics' Health Care Access
Approximately 38% of Hispanics in the U.S. are not fluent in English. Doctors and the health care experience overall can be overwhelming for any culture when patients are facing language barriers, cultural differences, or misunderstand their insurance benefits. In fact, when a provider and a patient are unable to communicate effectively, the language barrier can lead to decreased health outcomes, decreased patient and provider satisfaction, and increased costs.
A 2020 study found that the majority of Hispanics (69%) find health care in the United States overwhelming, and 46% believe that the health care system doesn’t devote enough resources to the Hispanic community.
Cigna is taking steps to reduce the barriers of care for the Hispanic community. For example, to help our Spanish-speaking customers access behavioral health care, Cigna has expanded the mental health support offered through Evernorth Behavioral Health to include Ginger’s coaching, therapy, and psychiatry services in Spanish as an in-network benefit. Cigna is the first health plan to offer Spanish services through Ginger, Headspace Health’s on-demand mental health platform. Cigna’s language assistance services are another way we are helping Spanish-speaking customers access care in ways that are simple, predictable, and affordable. Services include bilingual staff, translation of benefits, remote interpretation services, and a Spanish-language web site that aims to reduce health disparities, improve customer experience, and increase health literacy among U.S. Hispanics. Cigna also has Spanish-language on Facebook and Twitter.
Training and Resources to Deliver Culturally Relevant Care
In addition to core training that includes mandatory cultural competency training for customer-facing new hires and annually required unconscious bias training for all employees, Cigna offers a cultural competency training series tailored to help participants gain clinical awareness related to culturally driven disparities.
This includes the “Delivering Culturally Responsive Care: Hispanic Community Series,” an in-depth, three-part learning series designed to help customer-facing employees gain practical insights on engaging Hispanic customers in health and wellness programs and services. It enables employees to connect and empathize with Hispanic customers in order to equip them to actively participate in improving their health outcomes.
Dedicated Employee Resource Group to Empower Hispanic Coworkers
The Juntos employee resource group (ERG) at Cigna provides Hispanic employees with opportunities for growth, learning, and development, and to build meaningful connections with colleagues, clients, and the many communities we serve.
The group does this through a number of programs, such as the “Juntos 411” series of short videos, which are intended to educate and share information about the Hispanic culture. Juntos also puts on career development events such as “Do’s and Don’ts of Networking,” “Latino Leadership,” and “Ace Your Interview,” which aim to raise employee knowledge and awareness of their goals, strengths and values and to identify how they can pursue activities within Cigna and externally.
The group also connects employees with community outreach and volunteerism opportunities. Juntos partnerse with local food banks and community centers, including the Mercy House Community Center and St. Mary’s Food Bank in Arizona and the Chicago Food Depository in Illinois. In Texas, Juntos raised money to support the Uvalde Strong Fund, which helps families affected by the Uvalde school shooting as well as nonprofit and medical partners within the Uvalde community.
In addition to community outreach and volunteerism, Juntos works closely with Cigna's talent acquisition team to help increase the Hispanic pipeline within our organization. The “Inclusive Conversation Series” that the ERG puts on in partnership with Cigna's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) teamsupports the Hispanic community while helping build empathy and allyship among non-Hispanic employees. Watch the video below to learn more about Cigna's Juntos ERG.
Data to Improve Health Care Outcomes for Hispanic Communities
At Cigna, we have found that although our work in the data and analytics space cannot change a diagnosis, it can help change patient outcomes. We have been leaning on data to help us better understand and alleviate health disparities. Case in point: Through the analysis of preventive screening data, Cigna was able to identify a disparity in colon cancer screening for Hispanic customers. Based on this insight, we launched a national initiative to promote participation among Hispanic customers.
Additionally, Cigna piloted a multichannel campaign to improve breast cancer screening rates among Hispanic women in California and Hispanic and Black women in Texas. The campaign was twofold: First, we created and promoted content to drive awareness of the importance of annual checkups and offer reminders to schedule one. Then, we did a targeted follow up with a personalized call to action to get screened and educated about breast cancer. The campaign saw a 15% response rate for breast cancer screenings among those who received both communications.
Increased Spending With Hispanic-Owned Businesses
Cigna has made a strong commitment to leveraging diversity in all aspects of our business, including the engagement of a diverse supplier base. We believe that the success of minority-owned and women-owned businesses, as well as other underrepresented suppliers, adds to our success as a company and to that of the communities we serve.
As part of our Building Equity and Equality Program, we’ve committed to doubling our indirect diverse supplier spend by 2025. We aim to reach $1 billion in diverse spend, representing nearly 20% of our $5 billion indirect spend in the U.S. We are on track to reach this commitment, with approximately $764 million spent with diverse suppliers in 2021. And this spending goes beyond the companies and partners we work with, providing a direct economic benefit to local communities.
Based on external benchmarks (Supplier IO), we estimate that our diverse spending will have a 2.6 multiplier impact in the communities where diverse suppliers live and work. Consistent to our total diverse supplier goals, we expect to increase our spending with Hispanic-owned businesses to exceed $80 million by 2025.
More Work to Do
Cigna’s inclusive culture allows us to look at problems differently and makes Cigna a more innovative and stronger partner for our clients and customers. We are proud of the work we’ve done to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion for our Hispanic coworkers and the Hispanic community as a whole, but we also recognize that work remains. We will continue to partner with organizations, influencers, our Juntos ERG, and others to advance the DEI dialog and make Cigna – and the world – a better place for all.
Cigna is Committed to Health Equity
For more than a decade, Cigna has promoted the identification of health disparities and influenced the development of solutions that result in more equitable health among our customers, our workforce, and in the community.