Patient Power Works

CIGNA has just released its 8th Annual Choice Fund Experience Study:

  • Cigna’s Consumer Directed Health Plan (CDHP) customers were nearly 50 percent more likely to complete a health risk assessment, and those with a chronic illness were up to 41 percent more likely to participate in a disease management program than those enrolled in a traditional plan.
  • First-year Cigna CDHP customers had the same or higher compliance with roughly 500 evidence-based medical best practices 96 percent of the time compared to their counterparts in traditional plans. Compliance continued to increase in the second year.
  • Cigna CDHP medical cost trend was 12 percent lower than traditional plans during the first year. Cumulative savings over 5 years of $7,900 per employee can be achieved.
  • Cost reductions were achieved without employers shifting out-of-pocket health expenses to their employees. On average Cigna Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) customers paid 21 cents out of every dollar out of their own pockets, while traditional customers were paying 24 cents.
  • In addition, CDHP customers used the emergency room at a five percent lower rate than individuals enrolled in HMO and PPO plans.

Comments (14)

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  1. Blake T says:

    I find this statistics fascinating. It is clearly amazing what happens when people are presented with choices. Cigna’s report shows us that the reform we need is those that give options to employees, not those that restrict choice and allows government participation.

  2. Kelly S says:

    I find it interesting the volatility this report caused on Cigna’s stock. Interesting because the report shows that the company is getting more out of its CDHPs, a positive piece of information, but the market reacted as if this news was something negative.

  3. Henry W says:

    This is an example of how we are making progress towards the reforms we need. Reforms lead by private enterprises not the government.

    • James M. says:

      Because examples like this are proof that they are good policy. Unlike, ObamaCare, which incidents are hidden and manipulated into showing it is an effective policy.

  4. John Fembup says:

    I hope that the results reported are real and sustainable. As I recall Aetna has reported similar results over the past few years.

    But Its not clear to me what is actually being compared. The article, and the CIGNA report itself, say the comparisons are made between populations in High Deductible plans vs traditional plans. If this is literally true, then how can we know whether the more careful and potentially less costly consumers may be choosing the high deductible plans in the first place?

    What I’d really like to know is whether the study actually looked at a before and after comparison just for the people who switched into a high deductible plan. Maybe that is what this study does- but if so, CIGNA make it very hard to tell.

    Anyone happen to know what, exactly, this study actually compares?

    • John R. Graham says:

      Thank you. Yes, I agree that the report does not control for health or income status. It could be that healthier people are choosing the consumer-driven plans. The incentives facing CIGNA are somewhat biased in that direction.

      However, other, scholarly, studies have been reported in this blog that do a good job of controlling for such factors.

  5. Bob Hertz says:

    Thanks for the input.

    My question is do we know the incomes of the subjects of the study?

    Higher income persons are more organized and careful in all aspects of life. This is just a fact.

    My worry is about the people who have very little money, and only enroll in a high deductible plan because it has a lower premium.

    If I had my way, no one could buy a high deductible plan unless they had the deductible (or twice that much) in a savings account.

    Bob Hertz, The Health Care Crusade

  6. Martin P says:

    I actually don’t trust studies of this type. The one responsible for conducting the study is biased to report better numbers than reality. I will believe these findings when an unbiased study corroborates its numbers. It is really easy to trick consumers with misleading statistics.

    • Matthew says:

      So you think Cigna studying Cigna stats could lead to a bias? Understandable, especially after the success that is shown in the study.

      • Martin P says:

        Even if the statistics are unbiased, the numbers can be interpreted in several different ways to support their claims.

        • Martin P says:

          It is also interesting that in the news release they only included a link to the summary of findings, not the study itself. In fact, I have a hard time actually finding the report. This study raises a lot of question than it answers.

  7. Luis C. says:

    I found this report more as a marketing campaign than an actual study that can give us leads about the topic. It is basically telling us that CIGNA is better than its competitors.

  8. Walter Q. says:

    “Cigna CDHP medical cost trend was 12 percent lower than traditional plans during the first year. Cumulative savings over 5 years of $7,900 per employee can be achieved.”

    Very interesting statistic.