Cigna leans on MDLive for new virtual-first plan

Cigna launched a virtual-first plan for choose employers on Tuesday, with its new providing following the latest bulletins of different main insurers and coming simply in time for open enrollment.

Like UnitedHealth Group, Aetna and Centene, Cigna’s new virtual-first plan gives a $0 copay, and can begin in January 2022. Cigna will provide virtual-first major, dermatology, behavioral and pressing care providers for employers, and digital dermatology to its change members. Though the brand new virtual-first plan will solely be obtainable for sure employers, all enterprise clients can have entry to MDLive’s community of greater than 2,000 digital clinicians for wellness checks, prescription refills and emergency care.

The corporate constructed the brand new plan on the MDLive platform and the startup’s physicians will be a part of Cigna’s group of collaborative care suppliers. Cigna paid an undisclosed sum to acquire MDLive in February, and folded the corporate into its Evernorth well being providers division.

The insurer didn’t reply to a request concerning the dimension and kind of employers it was concentrating on by means of the brand new virtual-first plan. Eighty-five p.c of Cigna’s business clients are self-funded employers and the insurer already depends on MDLive to energy among the telehealth visits for these clients.

Along with offering the virtual-first infrastructure, Cigna is leaning on MDLive to beef up its major care follow and minimize wait occasions for sufferers. The insurer mentioned that greater than 75% of members who had an MDLive digital wellness screening in 2020 didn’t have a major care supplier and two-thirds recognized a brand new well being situation throughout their digital go to.

By rising entry and shifting the price of care to lower-cost settings, Cigna goals to avoid wasting on well being prices for itself and its members, whereas providing a extra customized care expertise.

“With MDLIVE now a part of Evernorth, we have fast-tracked our capacity to supply a broader suite of differentiated, future-state care options that make the affected person expertise simpler and extra handy,” Eric Palmer, president of Evernorth, mentioned in a information launch. “Right now’s announcement represents a big step ahead for thousands and thousands of well being plan clients who will achieve on-demand entry to a wider vary of highly-specialized, in-network well being care professionals.”

The information builds on MDLive’s present digital major care providers, which it launched as an initiative for well being plans and employers in 2020. That yr, MDLive’s whole membership grew 57% and the corporate recorded an 84% enhance within the variety of visits throughout its supplier community.

The startup had teased that it deliberate to go public someday in 2021, following the strikes of opponents like Teladoc and Amwell. Cigna didn’t reply to plans about an IPO for MDLive. The startup has raised almost $199 million in funding, with the insurer’s enterprise arm serving as a number one investor.

It isn’t the one telehealth firm that has raised enterprise funding just lately.

Throughout the first three quarters of 2021, telehealth startups generated $6.6 billion in enterprise funds, based on Digital Health Business & Technology.

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