Medscape Publishes Cigna Study Supporting Association between Treated Gum Disease and Reduced Medical Costs in Individuals

  • Total expenditures (direct and indirect) related to diabetes in the United States are estimated at $174 billion, approximately 20 percent of total health care expenditures [1]
  • The medical costs observed in this study were 23 percent lower for individuals with diabetes who had proper gum disease treatment, an average reduction of approximately $2,500 per year per patient

SUNRISE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Cigna (NYSE: CI) announced today that, the leading source of health information for healthcare professionals, published results from Cigna's internationally published three-year claims study supporting a potential association between treated periodontal (gum) disease and reduced medical costs for individuals with diabetes. The article, "Does Treatment of Oral Disease Reduce the Costs of Medical Care,” is available here.

Patients who were treated for gum disease in the first year of the study and then received regular maintenance care thereafter had lower medical costs than those who had previously been treated for gum disease but did not receive regular maintenance care. On average, medical costs were $2,483 per year lower, or 23 percent less, for individuals with diabetes who had proper gum disease treatment.

“We’re pleased that our research can continue to contribute to the dental community’s growing body of information regarding oral and overall health,” said Dr. Clay Hedlund, Dental Director at Cigna. ”We consider treating gum disease to be a win-win situation because while it certainly improves oral health, it may also have a beneficial impact on overall health and related medical costs in individuals with diabetes.”

The findings were initially presented during a March meeting of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) in San Diego, and corroborate the results of Cigna's prior research, presented at the IADR meeting in 2009, in support of a possible association between the treatment of gum disease and lower medical costs in the treatment of diabetes and stroke. IADR is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing research and increasing knowledge to improve oral health worldwide.

Cigna is an industry innovator in medical/dental integration programs. In 2006, Cigna launched its Oral Health Integration Program which gave enhanced dental coverage for the treatment of gum disease to pregnant women and people with heart disease and diabetes who were enrolled in both dental and medical plans from Cigna. It was the first program of its kind at the time, and Cigna continues to lead the market in medical/dental integration with Oral Health Integration Program enhancements that were effective earlier this year. The program is now standard for all dental customers and was expanded to include more dental coverage for three additional medical conditions, plus other program participant perks. This integrated program is designed to help eliminate cost as a barrier to seeking appropriate treatment for gum disease (and cavities) and ultimately improve overall health.

The study was conducted by Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat, Dean Emeritus and professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine; Dr. Robert Genco, a SUNY Distinguished Professor, University at Buffalo Schools of Dental Medicine; Dr. Nipul Tanna, clinical assistant professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine; and Dr. Michael Hahn, Dr. Miles Hall, and Dr. Clay Hedlund, Cigna dental directors. Drs. Jeffcoat and Genco are members of the Cigna Dental Clinical Advisory Panel.

The Cigna Dental Clinical Advisory panel helps to create innovative approaches to new technologies, medical/dental integration and evidence-based strategies. Organized by Cigna, this independent panel consists of leaders in the dental profession, many of whom are published and have served in leadership roles within their specialty or the American Dental Association. Several panel members have current academic appointments in major schools of dentistry, including the University of PA, Tufts, SUNY, and UCLA.

About Cigna

Cigna (NYSE: CI) is a global health service and financial company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. Cigna Corporation's operating subsidiaries in the United States provide an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits, as well as group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions and has approximately 66 million customer relationships throughout the world. All products and services are provided exclusively by such operating subsidiaries and not by Cigna Corporation. Such operating subsidiaries include Life Insurance Company of North America, Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York, and Connecticut General Life Insurance Company. To learn more about Cigna, visit To sign up for email alerts or an RSS feed of company news, log on to Also, follow us on Twitter at @cigna, visit Cigna’s YouTube channel at and listen to Cigna's podcast series with healthy tips and information at or by searching "Cigna" in iTunes.

[1] Centers for Disease Control. 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet.


Janet Brown, 860.226.4811
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