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Jan 30, 2024
Supplemental health benefits help reduce the cost impact of cardiodiabesity

Cardiodiabesity is poised to become a major health issue in the United States, with the incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity expected to rise exponentially by 2030. A recent study has found that 93% of adults in the U.S. have cardiometabolic health issues, which puts them at risk for developing any or all of these diseases.

Many employers are implementing prevention and early intervention plans to help head off the business costs of cardiodiabesity conditions, which are estimated to be $719 billion each year. Employers aren’t alone when it comes to these expenses. Employees and family members with advanced obesity, or whose diabetes has led to critical complications such as heart attack or stroke, can experience significant financial stress and anxiety arising from these circumstances. This can have a significant impact on business productivity, even if the employee doesn’t take any time away from work.

Organizations can further support these workers by offering supplemental health solutions, which provide financial benefits when a serious health event occurs. “Cigna Healthcare was the first supplemental health carrier to offer coverage for advanced obesity,” said Marc Jeffreys, president of Supplemental Health Solutions at Cigna Healthcare. “We also cover other critical illnesses that can stem from cardiobiabesity, such as heart attack, stroke, and blindness.”

Jeffreys added that the Supplemental Health Critical Illness plans offered by Cigna Healthcare provide a lump-sum cash benefit to enrolled employees and their covered family members when they are diagnosed with these and other covered critical illnesses. Supplemental Health Hospital Care plans also offer payments for those who are hospitalized with these conditions.

Payments typically range from $10,000 to $30,000, depending on the coverage selected. Employees can use the money provided by these plans to pay for medical expenses as well as anything else they need, including transportation costs, rent, childcare, utility bills, and groceries.

“Including supplemental health coverage as a core component of a comprehensive benefits package can give employees financial and emotional peace of mind in case of a significant health issue, which are unfortunately becoming more and more common,” Jeffreys said. “When workers are in a better position to address their health needs, they can be more focused and productive on the job.”

Jeffreys explained that employers who offer supplemental health plans provide a more robust benefits and wellness offering to their workforce beyond traditional benefits alone. “These plans not only further assist with an employee’s physical and emotional health, but their financial well-being as well,” he said. This peace of mind can translate to higher job satisfaction, which helps improve workforce productivity and enables employers to attract and retain talented employees.

Additional financial benefit for hospital care at designated preferred facilities

Employers can now offer their workers greater financial protection for unexpected hospital visits with the Preferred Facility Guidance benefit. This benefit rewards employees with a higher benefit payment amount of up to 50% of their standard Hospital Care benefit when they are treated for a covered condition at a designated preferred facility in the Cigna Healthcare network.

Finding a preferred facility is quick and easy. Employees can locate one near their work or home via an online search at myPFGnavigator.com. These facilities are within convenient reach of most employees – more than 84% of Cigna Healthcare customers already live within 30 minutes of a preferred facility.

“The preferred facilities listed in our network are essentially ‘the best of the best,’” Jeffreys said. While all hospitals and treatment facilities in the network must meet stringent cost and quality standards, preferred facilities have better treatment outcomes compared to the rest, including shorter hospitalization times by an average of one day and 15% fewer readmissions. “Seeking care from a preferred facility is good for employees,” Jeffreys said, “and helps them better show up at the companies they work for.”

The Preferred Facility Guidance benefit is the latest example of how Cigna Healthcare continuously works to enhance its supplemental health offerings to meet the health challenges of employees and their families.

“Cigna Healthcare was also the first to offer a critical illness rider to cover hospitalization for musculoskeletal conditions,” Jeffreys said. “We continually review our clinical data and health trends to identify the most common causes for hospital utilization, which we can then address with existing and new solutions. It’s all part of our holistic approach that delivers value to clients, by helping them mitigate the costs of cardiodiabesity and other serious health conditions, while improving the health and vitality of their workforce.”

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