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The power of integrated benefits
Several studies demonstrate how integrating medical, behavioral and pharmacy benefits may provide your employees and organization better value, better health outcomes and lower costs.
By Patricia Stephenson, MD.
National Medical Director Health Equity, Cigna
Article contributed by Cigna
Imagine what it would be like if you had to buy a car in pieces. You’d go to one dealer for the frame and chassis, another one for the engine and drive train, a third one for electronics, and yet another for everything else. Then you’d need to have all of the pieces assembled to ensure they work together properly so you don’t break down on your way to work.
It wouldn’t be a good experience. You probably don’t want to buy a car this way – and you probably don’t want to purchase your organization’s employee health benefts this way, either.
There’s a lot to be said for integrating medical, behavioral and pharmacy benefts. It’s simpler, more convenient and can provide better value to organizations and individuals through better health outcomes and lower costs.*
Cigna has been studying the value of integration for several years. Initial studies focused on the integration of medical and pharmacy benefts. The most recent study,* published in late 2018, added behavioral health benefits to the analysis, which gave us more robust results and a more complete understanding of the power of integrated benefits.
Expanding the scope of the analysis to include behavioral health benefits is consistent with Cigna’s focus on wholeperson health. Our fundamental belief is that physical health and mental health are inextricably linked. Our body and mind are connected, so connecting medical and behavioral health benefits is important too.
People widely recognize the mind-body connection. In a recent Cigna survey** of U.S. adults, 90% said when they feel healthy they’re in a better mood. While 77% said their physical health is important to their work performance, even more – 87% – said their mental/emotional well-being is important to their professional success.
Cigna’s Value of Integration study showed that customers who have their medical, behavioral and pharmacy benefits integrated were more engaged in their health and well-being than customers whose benefits were not fully integrated. In fact, according to the study, 22% more people engage in health coaching and case management programs when their benefits are integrated, and 15% more complete multiple health improvement activities.*
In addition, when benefits are integrated:*
- Customers have more preventive care visits and lower out-of-network claims.
- Employers see average medical savings of $193 annually for each covered person.
- Savings are even greater – $645 annually – for each covered person with a known health improvement opportunity, and signifcantly higher still for engaged individuals who have certain conditions, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis.
When benefits are integrated it’s easier to close gaps in care, such as missed prescription reflls or overdue health screenings. We’re also better able to use advanced analytics to identify individuals with health improvement opportunities and then guide them to programs such as health coaching, chronic condition support and case management. Simply put, when benefits are integrated and administered together, it strengthens the ability to connect individuals with the right services and the right care, thus enabling them to take better control of their health.
Ultimately, integration of benefits results in a better experience that’s simpler and more personalized with better outcomes. That’s the power of integrated benefits.
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*Cigna Value of Integration Study, October 18, 2018. Results may vary.
**Cigna Open Enrollment Study, September 2018.
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