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Jan 20, 2023
Integrating Medical, Pharmacy, and Behavioral Healthcare is Crucial to the Vitality of America’s Workforce
a group of doctors sharing data

Today’s workers have different expectations than their predecessors. They value their health and well-being and prioritize working for organizations that take a holistic, whole-person approach to employee wellness.

At Cigna Healthcare, we are committed to improving the health and vitality of everyone we serve. This mission comes to life in the work that we are doing in integrating medical, pharmacy, and behavioral healthcare and data to deliver better management of healthcare costs for our clients and better outcomes for health plan members.

Our newly released Value of Integration study, which was conducted with Aon plc, shows that Cigna Healthcare's integrated benefits employer clients saved $148 per member per year in 2021. The study compares the costs for clients that use our integrated benefits (Cigna medical, pharmacy, and behavioral benefits) vs. those that use fragmented benefits (Cigna medical with behavioral and pharmacy benefits from other vendors).

Using a similar study method, Cigna Healthcare then evaluated the financial impact of engaging employees to participate in health improvement programs, such as wellness coaching.  That study also found a significant financial impact in engaging employees to participate in health improvement programs, such as wellness coaching. These programs saved Cigna Healthcare integrated employer clients more than $1,400 per member per year.

“When benefits are built to work together as one, we can better engage our customers to take control of their health while driving savings and ease for them and our clients and their employees,” said Katy Wong, chief pharmacy officer, Cigna Healthcare.

We sat down with Wong to better understand the Value of Integration study and the implications for employers.

What is the 2022 Cigna Healthcare Value of Integration study? 

The Value of Integration study is a retrospective, comprehensive analysis of our national 2021 book-of-business data, evaluating clients who have their medical, pharmacy, and total behavioral benefits with Cigna Healthcare. As a result of this study, now in its sixth year, we can confirm yet again that whole person health is inextricably connected to benefits structure and there is significant value in the triple integration of benefits – medical, pharmacy, and total behavioral health all offered through Cigna Healthcare. 

Can you talk about the research methodology?

Absolutely. We used a match-case control methodology developed at Harvard University and reviewed by Aon, which is a leading global professional services firm. We compared groups of individuals whose age, gender, health status, and condition level match, and who differ only in terms of their medical, pharmacy, and behavioral health benefits coverage.

What are some of the key findings?

At a high level, we found a direct connection between integrated medical, pharmacy and behavioral benefits and lower medical claims costs. We also found that engaging employees to participate in health improvement programs such as wellness coaching could further bring down these costs. 

When evaluating specific high-cost conditions and therapies, we found substantial cost-savings opportunities for employers. Our research demonstrates per member per year, individuals taking specialty medications and enrolled in a triple-integrated health benefit cost their employers nearly $9,000 less than those who are using fragmented benefits. For individuals taking specialty drugs and who have confirmed depression, the per-member-per-year cost savings for employers totaled almost $17,500. We also looked at members with chronic conditions like musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions and diabetes, and found that when they were enrolled in an integrated health plan, the per-member-per-year savings for employers were $400 for MSK and nearly $2,500 for diabetes.

Give me the 411 on how Cigna Healthcare’s integrated benefits work.

Truly integrated benefits go well beyond just coordinating or bundling benefits. We have one clinical platform for all our benefits. It works in real time, and it is interwoven into all our benefits for actionable insights, proactive and timely customer engagement opportunities, and provider collaboration – all of which result in real impact.

Our connected platform allows us to intervene and impact important healthcare decisions for our customers, without delaying necessary care. This delivers a total healthcare approach that focuses on the whole person – with more affordability, predictability, and simplicity.

Talk to me about the value of integration beyond pure cost.

Integration has a lot of value outside of cost and financial predictability. It allows us to proactively engage plan members with service and clinical teams who see, direct, and refer across all of their benefits. Integration allows for better collaboration among providers and a more simple experience for patients.

a group reviewing plans

Cigna Healthcare: Impact of Integrating Medical, Pharmacy and Behavioral Health Benefits

This analysis, conducted with Aon plc, compares the inpatient, outpatient, and professional medical costs of Cigna Healthcare's Integrated Benefits members versus those without.

Download the full report