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Cigna (CI) Ramps up Efforts to Contain Coronavirus Spread

Zacks Equity Research

Cigna Corporation CI decided to take several actions in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The global pandemic, as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO), infected more than 786,536 people to date. Further, the cases of reported fatalities have reached nearly 38,000 to date.

As part of several initiatives, Cigna has eliminated certain ‘out-of-pocket’ costs required for the treatment of its clients, who are severely hit by the pandemic. This action has already come into force from Mar 30 and will extend till May 31. In the United States, the initiative provides coverage for the individuals under the company’s employer/union-sponsored insured group health plans, insured plans for the U.S.-based globally mobile individuals, Medicare Advantage, and Individual and Family Plans.

By employing several doctors and nurses, Cigna plans to join forces with the healthcare team of its network partner and telehealth provider, MDLIVE. Such increased capacity will enhance Cigna’s telehealth services and facilitate easy communication between doctors and patients on a real-time basis.

Also backed by its partnership with digital health provider, Buoy Health, which has an artificial intelligence (AI) platform, Cigna has come up with an innovative web-based interactive triage tool. The tool helps Cigna’s customers in the early detection of COVID-19 symptoms as well as provides certain guidelines for subsequent care.

Furthermore, the company has been continuously making efforts to contain the virus spread since the beginning of March. It inked a long-term deal with Houston Methodist Hospital, which allows Cigna’s customers to get quality medical care at reasonable rates in Methodist hospitals. A similar deal with Houston Methodist Hospital has been inscribed by Cigna’s industry peer, UnitedHealth Group Inc. UNH.

Notably, Cigna has previously eliminated particular ‘out-of-pocket’ costs required for the testing of COVID-19 symptoms. It has also announced a donation of around $300,000 for healthcare workers and customers severely affected by the pandemic.

Shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained 10.1% in a year against the industry’s decline of 4.8%. We believe that Cigna’s strong fundamentals are likely to retain its existing momentum in the long run.

 

 

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Some other companies in the same space are undertaking several measures to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

Humana Inc. HUM expanded the availability of telehealth services by providing an array of affordable and feasible services, which include early prescription refills and wider coverage of telehealth visits for urgent healthcare.

CVS Health Corporation’s CVS health insurance division, Aetna (which was merged in 2018),is also developing and expanding its telehealth offerings.

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