Cigna CEO throws support behind telehealth as advancing a 'choice-based model'

Offering a range of telehealth services is just one of several innovative ways Cigna is advancing its “consumer choice-based model,” Cordani said. (Getty Images/verbaska_studio)

Providing telehealth services through multiple providers does not create a conflict of interest, Cigna President and CEO David Cordani said in response to a question during the company’s second-quarter earnings call on Thursday.

On the contrary, “it’s actually complementary and extending their access, and extending their brand and their reach with their patients,” he said.

On Wednesday, Cigna was among the lead investors in a $50 million funding round in telemedicine provider MDLive. Cigna also provides its customers access to virtual health services through MDLive competitor American Well.

Offering a range of telehealth services is just one of several innovative ways Cigna is advancing its “consumer choice-based model,” Cordani said. By growing its telehealth offerings and working directly with providers, Cigna can also expand its presence at the point of service without being capital-intensive.

Plus, the Connecticut-based insurer can utilize its partnerships to provide these services “in a highly coordinated fashion,” he said.

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Partnerships were a recurring theme throughout the call, including the proposed merger with Express Scripts, which Cordani said “accelerates our strategy of ‘Go Deep, Go Local, and Go Beyond.’”

“We believe that Cigna's differentiated service-based model, fueled by actionable insights and analytics, embraces market challenges, drives more effective partnerships with our clients and our healthcare professionals, improves health outcomes and addresses the root cause of escalating costs and, ultimately, delivers superior experience and value to our customers,” Cordani concluded.