Cigna Virtual Health is an add-on app for employers, designed to offer a range of healthcare benefits to employees. It includes:
* My Virtual GP. Members can start by checking their symptoms with the app’s Symptom Checker. If they then need to see a GP, Dr Now (part of the Now Healthcare Group) offers virtual GP and pharmacy services (as it already does to a million other people). Smartphone video virtual appointments are available from 7am to 9pm, seven days a week and appointments last a maximum of eight minutes. Family members can also use the service. The employer will pay for a fixed maximum number of appointments, with any further appointments available on a pay-as-you-go basis.
* My Pharmacist. An e-prescription (cost £5) can be sent to the member’s local pharmacy or delivered (at extra cost) by post.
* My Health Librarian. Offers access to a wide range of health and wellbeing topics.
* My Health Mate. This offers personalised coaching and includes a biometric section to input and save key health numbers such as blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI. Members can also access Mindfulness Practice and Pep Talk and Love Yourself programmes.
* My Nutritionist. This enables members to evaluate their nutrition habits and access helpful tips and recipes.
* My Health Techie. This enables members to sync an activity tracker and to run a virtual marathon.
What They Say
Managing director Phil Austin said: “It goes without saying that healthier people drive a healthier business. Employers are looking for a health partner to change market dynamics and push boundaries. We need to move beyond only treating employees when they’re unwell – Cigna Virtual Health is designed with this in mind to support them on their health journey, and most importantly, to stay healthy and well. Naturally, the appetite for digital solutions is growing fast in our ‘time poor’ nation. We’re committed to providing innovative healthy lifestyle technologies to support employee well-being.”
What We Say
"The old insurance maxim of ‘pay them a cheque and go away’ is slowly being replaced with adding a range of services that aim both to keep people in good health and also to provide more than just financial help if things go wrong.
"That makes sense for two reasons. First, because it is a genuine customer service that offers real and proven benefits [to the employee and to their employer too]. Second, both the employer and insurer stand to benefit over time because, in general terms, fit and healthy people are less likely to be off work and less likely to became an expensive insurance claim.
"Smartphones now include the technology to allow services such as virtual GP consultations to take place and, while the technology and applications are still developing, Cigna clearly now believes things have developed far enough that it can offer an app that packages a number of such services in an inexpensive and easy to access service. In Cigna’s 360° study 2015-16 it found that 94% of people wanted to improve their health but only 6% saw their health insurer as a go-to-source for support.
"In the individual or personal sector, insurers risk individuals over-using such services [which adds to costs] but in the company paid space the costs to the provider can be better spread across all members, so bringing the cost down.
"Cigna’s app is both simple and personal. Anyone can understand how it works and see how they can benefit from it. Not only that, some are likely to want to try it out for themselves – and maybe make those lifestyle changes they’ve long promised themselves they would."