Cigna Corporation (CI - Analyst Report) recently announced that Americans enrolled in its administered medical and behavioral health plans for 2017 will now enjoy better access and more choice of affordable telehealth services.
Cigna started offering telehealth service to clients 10 years back with an objective to integrate convenience with affordability in its premium quality healthcare
services. However, several Americans, particularly those residing in rural areas, face challenges in accessing behavioral health professionals when needed. Cigna intends to mitigate this issue by expanding its behavioral health services.
Cigna’s telehealth benefit unit – MDLIVE – was added in 2013. At present, MDLIVE covers roughly 30% of Cigna's U.S. group medical population.
Cigna now plans to add American Well’s telehealth platform AMWELL to MDLIVE in order to meet the growing demand of personalized behavioral healthcare services. American Well has ensured utmost cooperation from its end in order to facilitate Cigna in providing modernized healthcare services to Americans. Also, Cigna will add American Well’s medical network Online Care Group to its portfolio. This would not only allow Cigna customers to have greater access telehealth services but also choose where they want to receive the services. Cigna further plans to add telehealth video consultations for its health plan customers by using its contracted behavioral health professionals in Jan 2017.
This expanded telehealth service will now cover most of Cigna’s employer-sponsored group health plans as well as individual health plans on and off public marketplace exchanges. AMWELL and MDLIVE currently operate national networks of board-certified doctors for the treatment minor medical conditions like allergies, cold and flu and sinusitis. Hence, these telehealth services will be a major part of Cigna’s 2017 healthcare plan.
Cigna remains focused on developing the most affordable means to cater to the U.S customers. Given that healthcare cost is rising continuously, health insurers like Aetna Inc. (AET - Analyst Report) , Anthem Inc. (ANTM - Analyst Report) , Humana Inc. (HUM - Analyst Report) have been are strategizing to combat the losses. In such a scenario, Cigna’s latest business move is undoubtedly a prudent one. Both MDLIVE and AMWELL are slated to share consult notes with the primary care physicians of the eligible customers in order to deliver better quality and results at a reduced cost.
Cigna presently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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