Healthcare innovation

Cigna CEO: The Integration of Behavioral and…

Cigna CEO: The Integration of Behavioral and…

The integration of behavioral health and physical health is one of the “indisputable forces” shaping health care at Cigna (NYSE: CI).

This, coupled with the advancements and adoption of digital tools, could make mental and integrated health services more streamlined, Cigna CEO David Cordani said Tuesday during Morgan Stanely’s Annual Global Healthcare Conference.

“The big innovation for us is how do you continue to innovate new products, programs and services,” Cordani said.

Cigna’s health services segment, Evernorth, is seeing rapid growth in the behavioral health sector. In fact, during a Q2 earnings call, the company revealed that Evernorth’s behavioral health network has more than doubled in size over the past five years.

The Bloomfield, Connecticut-based payer has been focused on using technology to expand access to behavioral health services in recent years. In March, Evernorth launched the Confide Behavioral Health Navigator tool. The digital platform was designed to help patients get 24/7 access to care teams that can triage their symptoms and connect them to care.

“We’ve launched a digital-first depression anxiety program in this fiscal year. … [We have] a pilot of an MSK musculoskeletal program that takes mental, physical and pharmaceutical services and drives an integrated MSK program,” Cordani continued. “[It] takes all the services that we’re manufacturing internally with new innovation and development, but broadly speaking, we have the capabilities we need.”

Cigna seeks to meaningfully ‘tether’ point solutions

Today, the employer market at large is flooded with behavioral and integrated health point solutions. Yet the broad offerings of services can become confusing for the end user.

“Over time, more and more point solutions were being purchased by employers to meet individual needs,” Cordani said. “Employers were aggregating more and more point solutions, and their employees or customers were confronting … multiple touch points that were less connected.”

The next step is to make these types of solutions more coordinated and easier to access. Cigna has experience consolidating these types of tools, according to Cordani.

“Themes today are more directly pointing toward integrated or coordinated solutions where mental health and physical health are more meaningfully tethered together,” Cordani said.

Additionally, the definition of mental health solutions is evolving to go beyond comprehensive mental health and towards depression, anxiety and stress management, he added.

These trends could be beneficial for Cigna’s go-to-market proposition, said Cordani, due to the diversity of its offerings and its preferred approach to coordinating solutions. 

Cigna has inked deals with a number of mental health point solutions in the past, including addiction platform Quit Genius and mental health business service platform Alma.