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Health risk assessment puts employers, employees on path to improved health

The road to better health has many paths. Before individuals can make a commitment to better health, they need to understand their health. Are there specific issues impacting their health today? Are they controllable? Is there a healthy living plan out there that meets their unique needs?

Employers also want their employees to be healthy. No one has to convince them that healthier employees mean a more productive work force and lower company health care costs. But how much should you invest today in a promise for better health in the future?

To answer these questions and more, CIGNA has joined the University of Michigan Health Management Research Center (UM-HMRC), one of the nation's foremost authorities on worksite health promotion, in a collaborative effort to transform the way American businesses approach health risk management.

Through this exclusive arrangement, CIGNA offers its customers a health risk assessment and associated trend management system unparalleled in the industry, and health improvement capabilities unmatched in the marketplace.

How does it work?

The UM-HMRC health risk assessment and associated trend management system give CIGNA the unique ability to use individual responses to analyze how current health risks impact future health status, costs, productivity and disability. Information obtained through these questions enables us to strategically and proactively call on our broad array of health advocacy interventions to effectively and efficiently address, reduce and reverse specific risks.

As we use this holistic treatment approach with more and more individuals, we also will begin to see improved health across our customer base -- as well as reductions in disability costs and lower overall benefit expenses.

Simplified health questionnaire

The health assessment uses questions to help uncover the multiple components of health risks, including:

¥ Existing medical conditions and health risks;

¥ Perceived health risks; and

¥ Behavioral risks such as smoking and overeating.

Collectively, these questions provide a holistic view into an individual's health risks and provide the basis for a personalized health profile.

After taking the online assessment, individuals who may benefit from a program to address health behaviours immediately receive an online invitation to an online coaching program. To date, CIGNA has seen 26 percent to 27 percent of these individuals participate in one of the online programs -- demonstrating that a significant proportion of people taking the health risk assessment are ready to improve their health.

Sophisticated data management

As the participant goes through online coaching, the trend management system uses the incoming data to:

* Recommend the most appropriate health strategies to support an employer's population;

* Monitor and evaluate an employee population's health, health changes and engagement in health management programs over time; and

* Identify current health risks and their impacts on future health status, costs, productivity and disability.

Together, CIGNA and the University of Michigan are committed to helping American businesses improve the health of their businesses by improving the health of their employees. The combination of our health risk assessment and trend management system enables CIGNA to forecast costs and health status, identify health improvement strategies and recommend services that will benefit employees and deliver the most efficient and cost-effective care solutions.

Submitted by CIGNA

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