National Business Group on Health Honors Anthem, Inc. and Cigna for Advancing Health Equity and Reducing Disparities

WASHINGTON, April 11, 2019 – The National Business Group on Health, a non-profit association of more than 435 large U.S. employers, today honored Anthem, Inc. and Cigna for their ongoing commitment to advancing health equity through innovative initiatives and effective practices that impact the environments in which individuals live, learn, work and play. The companies were presented with “Innovation in Advancing Health Equity Awards” at the National Business Group on Health’s 2019 Business Health Agenda conference.

Brian Marcotte, president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health, commented, “We are very pleased to honor Anthem and Cigna for their support and dedication to advance health equity through workplace and community initiatives. Both of these forward-thinking companies recognize by addressing health equity and disparities they are improving the value, quality and effectiveness of the services their employees and the surrounding communities receive.”

Highlights of Anthem and Cigna’s programs are below:

Anthem, Inc.

Anthem is committed to addressing the demographic and socio-economic influences that impact the health of people and their communities.  And the company has developed numerous initiatives designed to promote health equity through employment, housing stability, food security, social connectedness, education and transportation – and ultimately, to improve lives.

One example is Blue Triangle, an innovative program launched by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Indiana. The program is a collaboration between Anthem, the City of Indianapolis, Partners in Housing and Adult & Child Health. Blue Triangle supports those experiencing homelessness in the Indianapolis area who may have significant mental health, substance abuse or physical health issues by providing low-barrier temporary respite housing and an array of services aimed at connecting participants with permanent housing. The program also helps to address the underlying health, economic, and social issues that contributed to their homelessness. Fifty eight percent of the participants were living unsheltered or in areas not meant for human habitation prior to program entry.

In addition, Anthem has supported the development of tools and resources that help consumers, medical practices, and employers reduce health disparities for diverse audiences. This includes “Take Action for Health,” a unique collaboration of organizations with a common goal of eliminating health disparities in the African-American community, and “My Diverse Patients,” a resource-rich care provider website that covers topics relevant to providing culturally competent care and services for diverse individuals. Anthem was also recognized for offering initiatives that tailor communications to address disparities found in communities, including providing in-home colorectal cancer screenings for Asian American and Hispanic consumers, incentive-based retinal eye exams for Hispanic consumers with diabetes, and breast cancer screenings for female Hispanic consumers.


Cigna cultivates a state of health equity by deploying strategic and operational resources to improve access and affordability to quality, personalized health care and well-being services. Cigna’s Health Equity Council recently celebrated its 10th year of strategic health equity efforts aimed at addressing health disparities and social determinants of health and advancing cultural competency. Notable is Cigna’s breast cancer screening program for Black women in Tennessee that involved tailored personal and empathic messaging, direct outreach and convenient access to care. Through collaboration with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare and Congregational Health Network, screenings were offered on a mobile mammography van at local churches. The multi-year effort successfully eliminated the breast cancer screening rate disparity among Cigna customers in Tennessee1.

Additional Cigna initiatives include a bilingual, culturally tailored worksite campaign with employer clients to promote the ability to screen for colon cancer at home, with the aim of increasing screening rates among Hispanic and Black customers. Cigna also collaborated with employer clients to pilot a campaign aimed at engaging employees with weight complications. After one year, 30 percent of previously unengaged customers had engaged in either the metabolic syndrome program or completed a preventive screening2. Additionally, Cigna makes it easier and more cost-effective for health care providers to comply with language assistance laws and ensure successful communications by extending discounted rates for professional telephone and face-to-face interpretations and written translations.

1 Cigna internal data and analysis, Tennessee claims; 2012 to 2018.
2 Health Engagement Intervention Insights: A Cigna Health Advisory Council Report 2018.

Contact: Ed Emerman

609 275 5162