We take insurance companies to task on a regular basis, so when one of them does something good, we think it’s only right to give credit where credit is due.
CIGNA did a study of involving 118,000 individuals from 26 client employers. They identified high-risk individuals, and 80% were assigned to receive outreach and support, including personal health coaching from a nurse advocate, lifestyle management, disease management, employee assistance and vocational stay-at-work programs. As a result, the employees had 15 fewer short-term disability claims among these high-risk individuals, and those disability absences were reduced by five days on average.
While CIGNA’s motivating factor is its bottom line, we hope that the results of the study will drive what we consider to be common sense – employees with health problems may do better with more support. A healthy employee decreases costs for insurance companies, enhances a company’s productivity and is a healthier individual.
There are additional costs associated with providing the outreach and support, but we are confident that an economic analysis would show that over the long run, that additional expense is considerably less than the cost of more medical care and absenteeism in the work place.