Cigna Health Plan announced it is significantly expanding access to covered virtual care services for millions of customers. The expansion demonstrates the increased pace of innovation that is an early result of the acquisition of MDLIVE by Evernorth, Cigna’s health services business.
The integrated services will include digital-first primary, dermatology, behavioral and urgent care. Additionally, MDLIVE physicians will join Cigna’s group of collaborative care providers, giving them access to patients’ health information for a more connected, coordinated experience.
“With MDLIVE now part of Evernorth, we’ve fast-tracked our ability to offer a broader suite of differentiated, future-state care solutions that make the patient experience easier and more convenient,” said Eric Palmer, president, Evernorth. “Today’s announcement represents a significant step forward for millions of health plan customers who will gain on-demand access to a wider range of highly-specialized, in-network health care professionals.”
Improving the Customer Experience
Starting in January 2022, all Cigna customers who are enrolled in employer-sponsored plans will have access to MDLIVE’s network of virtual primary care providers for routine care visits, sick visits, prescription refills, or to follow up on a condition that was not addressed during a wellness visit.
The expanded access to primary care services is especially critical given the increasing number of customers who do not have an existing primary care provider (PCP). This announcement builds on the successful virtual wellness visit program Cigna and MDLIVE launched last year. More than 75 percent of Cigna customers who had an MDLIVE virtual wellness screening in 2020 did not have a PCP – and two-thirds identified a health condition as a result of the virtual screening.
“Our customers value convenient access to high quality care and are increasingly finding virtual care is a great way to meet their health needs. This substantial expansion in MDLIVE services provides even more of those choices to our customers,” said Heather Dlugolenski, senior vice president, solutions, Cigna. “Not only will this give more people an additional entry point to the health care system, but patients will be able to build lasting relationships with their preferred MDLIVE provider just as they would in a traditional office setting. MDLIVE providers will also have access to comprehensive customer health information to track patient progress and better manage care. As necessary, MDLIVE will be able to refer our customers to high-performing in-network providers.”
Additionally, with the average wait time to see a dermatologist currently at more than 30 days, MDLIVE’s virtual dermatology services will enable Cigna customers to receive feedback from a health care professional within an average of 15 hours. Virtual dermatology will be available to customers that receive their coverage through their employer or the Affordable Care Act exchanges.
Secure, Coordinated Access to Health Information
During virtual visits, MDLIVE providers will gain secure, coordinated access to each patient’s Cigna health information, paving the way for more meaningful patient-provider discussions and informed recommendations. Patients can also be referred to other in-network specialists, including behavioral care, as well as receive orders for lab work and biometrics at in-network facilities.
“Together, we are creating a best-in-class, coordinated virtual care experience for millions of patients – improving each person’s unique health care journey with support from a wide network of providers,” said Dr. Cynthia Zelis, chief medical officer at MDLIVE, an Evernorth company.
Virtual-First Health Plans with $0 Copay
Cigna is also launching virtual-first health plans to select employers. These innovative plans include $0 copays with MDLIVE primary care providers, comprehensive chronic condition management and care navigation, and no referral requirements for in-person visits with in-network health care providers.
“At Cigna, we are constantly innovating our plan designs to meet the needs of our customers while continuing to make health care more affordable, predictable and simple,” continued Dlugolenski. “Expanding into virtual-first health plans is the next step in providing a convenient and comprehensive care experience.”