National Business Group on Health Honors Cigna, Pitney Bowes With Awards for Reducing Health Care Disparities

WASHINGTON, March 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Business Group on Health, a non-profit association of more than 340 large, U.S. employers, today honored Cigna and Pitney Bowes Inc., in partnership with UnitedHealthcare, for their ongoing commitment to reducing health care disparities in the workplace and for supporting a diverse workforce.  The companies were recognized with "Awards for Innovation in Reducing Health Care Disparities."  The awards were presented at the National Business Group on Health's 2012 Business Health Agenda conference held in Washington, DC.

In presenting the awards, Helen Darling, President and CEO of the National Business Group on Health, commented:  "We applaud Cigna and Pitney Bowes and its partner, UnitedHealthcare, for their commitment and ongoing efforts to address and reduce health care disparities.  They are among a select, visionary group of forward-thinking organizations that recognize that reducing health disparities in the workplace will lead to improved health, productivity and quality of life of their employees and dependents."

The key components of Cigna and Pitney Bowes/UnitedHealthcare's award-winning programs are:

Cigna has committed to reducing health disparities not just among their employees but also amongst their 11 million customers.  Their use of indirect race and ethnicity data allow Cigna to identify and prioritize opportunities to reduce health disparities among their entire population.  Cigna's Health Disparities Council has worked to leverage the cultural expertise of its own employees to customize communications for specific populations in terms of language, cultural appropriateness, reading level and preferred channel.   In the last four years, Cigna has achieved significant progress in addressing disparities by building and delivering interventions that are customer-centric and culturally appropriate.

Pitney Bowes Inc. partnered with UnitedHealthcare to positively impact and improve the health status of its employees and engage its Spanish-preference employees.  To optimize results, UHC brought in its experts -- Latino Health Solutions (LHS) -- a dedicated team of Hispanic professionals to improve the health and well-being of its Hispanic/Latino members.   Since its inception, UHC LHS has aimed at favorably impacting and reducing health disparities in the Hispanic/Latino community by providing a robust array of culturally-relevant, bilingual health and wellness information, tools, services and resources especially tailored to meet the unique healthcare needs of its Hispanic/Latino members. By the inclusion of 60 bilingual customer care professionals, targeted bilingual communications, dedicated bilingual health and wellness websites, bilingual health information kiosks and cultural competency training sessions Pitney Bowes was able to increase the number of Spanish-preference employees who enrolled in its health benefits program.   The successful interventions of the LHS team are now applied across UnitedHealthcare and have been integrated in other client engagement programs.

"Many employers go to great lengths to attract a diverse workforce.  But they may not realize that these populations have diverse health needs and may experience different treatments when they seek health care.  The leadership teams at Cigna and Pitney Bowes and UnitedHealthcare understand the importance of reducing health disparities and we hope that other organizations will follow their lead in their efforts to take on this ever-increasing challenge they are facing," concluded Darling.

About the National Business Group on Health

The National Business Group on Health is the nation's only non-profit organization devoted exclusively to representing large employers' perspective on national health policy issues and providing practical solutions to its members' most important health care problems. The Business Group helps drive today's health agenda while promoting ideas for controlling health care costs, improving patient safety and quality of care and sharing best practices in health benefits management with senior benefits, HR professionals, and medical directors from leading corporations.  Business Group members, which include 68 Fortune 100 companies, provide health coverage for more than 50 million U.S. workers, retirees and their families. For more information, visit www.businessgrouphealth.org.

SOURCE The National Business Group on Health

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