Payer Roundup—Cigna taps Lyft to give seniors rides; UnitedHealth lays off workers in 2 states

Lyft car
A partnership between Cigna and Lyft has facilitated 14,500 transports since it began in May. (Praiselightmedia / CC-BY-SA-4.0)

Cigna-HealthSpring taps Lyft to provide rides to seniors

Cigna-HealthSpring has teamed up with Lyft on a program to help Medicare Advantage enrollees get rides to and from their doctors and pharmacies.

The program, which is available to customers in select plans in seven states and the District of Columbia, has facilitated 14,500 transports since it began in May. In addition, customer surveys indicate that 92% of Cigna-HealthSpring customers using Lyft have made it their preferred transportation option.

The Cigna-Lyft program is one of many such partnerships between insurers and ride-hailing companies. For example, UnitedHealth, Lyft, the AARP Foundation and the University of Southern California’s Center for Body Computing announced a pilot program that involves offering free rides to seniors and using activity trackers to measure the program’s impact on their health. (Release)

UnitedHealth lays off workers in Delaware, Arizona

Because it lost out on a Medicaid contract in Delaware, UnitedHealth will lay off 138 employees, bringing its staffing level down to 122 employees in the state.

The move follows the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services’ decision not to renew UnitedHealth's contract to operate the state's Medicaid Managed Care Program. 

A UnitedHealth spokeswoman said some employees might be rehired in other positions, and noted the company is working with competing health insurers to find jobs for some of the laid-off workers.

Meanwhile, UnitedHealth is also cutting 381 jobs in Arizona. (The News-Journal)

Priority Health adds drug prices to cost estimator tool

Michigan-based insurer Priority Health has added the prices of 6,000 prescriptions to its cost-estimator tool, which already includes prices for healthcare procedures and services.

Members can also view their prescription cost by pharmacy location, and see whether they could pay less by switching to a lower priced alternative or opting for home delivery.

“We expect to attract more members to Cost Estimator in search of prescription costs because pharmacy is our most frequently utilized benefit, with 80% of commercial members filling at least one prescription per year,” said Nathan Foco, senior director of market and sales intelligence for Priority Health. (Release

Humana: Social engagement boosts seniors’ health

Adults age 60 and older who are who are the most socially engaged—defined as participating in social activities at least once a week—report higher levels of good health, according to a recent survey from Humana.

The survey found that 88% of the most socially engaged group report their health is good to excellent, versus only 70% of the least engaged group. The most engaged and and least engaged respondents also reported a significant difference in proactive pursuit of care.

“In an age in which isolation is a concern, this survey gives us real-life confirmation that social engagement is truly important when it comes to healthy aging,” said Yolangel Hernandez-Suarez, M.D., vice president and chief medical officer of Humana’s Care Delivery Organization. (Release)