Cigna: Helping to Solve for Health Disparity

by Savoy Staff

As a global health services company, we view racism as more than a human rights issue – it’s a health care issue. The enduring legacies of structural racism often tie communities of color, particularly African-American, to intergenerational poverty and health inequities.

Social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live and age, as well as the forces and systems that shape daily life. They help us understand the factors affecting an individual’s overall health – and have a major impact on health outcomes. Whether it’s lack of access to healthy food, unsafe neighborhoods, or limited access to quality health care, many minorities living in these communities are at a disadvantage.

Cigna is advancing belonging and equity for everyone we serve. We are doing this through a number of actions including publicly affirming our zero-tolerance for racism and discrimination, creating safe spaces for sharing experiences and healing, and launching our Building Equity and Equality Program.

Our Building Equity and Equality Program is a five-year initiative that will expand and accelerate our efforts to support diversity, inclusion, equality and equity for communities of color. In alignment with our mission to improve the health, well-being and peace of mind of all we serve, this program will continue to close gaps in health outcomes by eliminating barriers to health and improving access to care. This includes addressing needs amplified by Coronavirus  (COVID-19), such as food insecurity and mental health through our Healthier Kids For Our Future® program.

“We recognize that financial health is a key element of peace of mind and that racism may have a negative economic impact on people of color,” said Mike Triplett, President of Cigna U.S. Commercial business. “We are taking steps to advance a positive economic trend for current and future generations by creating more educational opportunities, continuing to grow equality in internal career advancement, and supporting minority businesses through increased supplier diversity.”

Cigna recently announced a partnership with Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Magic Johnson Enterprises, to combat health disparities and support minority- and women-owned small and mid-size businesses in the greater Los Angeles area. Through customized health care plans tailored to better meet the unique needs of these communities, Cigna will help create safer, healthier and more productive workforces for generations to come. In addition, we will be investing $3 million in local organizations to help the cause.

Other program actions include expanding our Supplier Mentor Protégé Program to assist minority suppliers. By pairing them with Cigna executives for 18 months, participants will learn and develop strategies to strengthen and grow their businesses. In addition, we recently provided $250,000 in funding to the ASAA/Howard University Urban Superintendents Academy to assist those on a career path to become urban public school superintendents.

We also work with Congress and the Administration to address and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care. We will continue to share insights and solutions that address social determinants of health and strengthen the health of all communities.

Further, we are developing programs and solutions that address health inequities and disparities among African American/Black,  and Hispanic customers who are disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have initially targeted communities and employer populations in Memphis, Houston and South Florida. Our Cigna S.A.F.E campaign will engage, protect, prepare and support customers throughout their COVID-19 journey.

To hold ourselves accountable with delivering on our Building Equity and Equality Program initiatives, we will establish a governance process to oversee the program’s elements, while tracking and reporting on progress.

We also plan to expand our Health Equity Council, a team of multi-disciplinary leaders who collaborate on research, testing and solutions to prevent chronic diseases and improve health outcomes in minority communities by addressing clinical care, social determinants of health and health behaviors.

“Just as transforming health care is in our DNA at Cigna, so is our commitment to inclusion, equity and diversity,” said Susan Stith, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Civic Affairs and the Cigna Foundation.  “If there is one thing this global pandemic has taught us, it is that by caring for each other and supporting those in need, we can help address the monumental challenges of those who need us most.”

We have developed a number of public resources to help facilitate better understanding, compassion and self-care during periods of stress. Visit to learn more.

0 comment

You may also like