Cigna adds mental well-being apps to benefits package

Beginning in the new year, Cigna will incorporate two new digital tools in an effort to help employees better cope with stress, anxiety and depression.

Happify Health and iPrevail Health will be available as part of Cigna’s behavioral health program, the insurer said. These digital platforms will deliver personalized, support for mental well-being.

Happify is a program offered both in app and website form that aims to measure users’ emotional well-being, and then gives them daily tasks and games to help them increase it. It includes 3,000 science-based activities and games and 300 guided meditations.

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The icons for Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s messaging applications WeChat, left, and QQ are displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone 5s smartphone in an arranged photograph in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. The success of messaging services QQ and WeChat has helped boost Tencent’s market value to about $161 billion, making it the most valuable Internet company in Asia. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

The programs are based on the best practices of gaming science and behavioral therapeutic disciplines including positive psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, behavioral activation and solution-focused therapy.

iPrevail provides on-demand support with trained peers and wellness coaches using a private chat platform for people experiencing stress and other related challenges. The digital platform also will offer personalized mental healthcare guidance for people with depression, substance use and other issues.

Mental illness can take a drastic toll on both employees and employers.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that mental health issues result in $444 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity each year. The American Institute of Stress estimates 75%–90% of primary care doctor visits are due to stress, and highly stressed people are less likely to eat healthy (30%), exercise (25%) and get half as much sleep as those reporting low levels of stress (50%).

Cigna is betting that digital tools, such as Happify and iPrevail, can help.

“By enhancing the connection between mind and body, we can help people prevent serious health conditions and improve overall health and well-being,” says Scott Josephs, national medical officer at Cigna. “We put the individual customer at the center of everything we do, and will continue to focus on delivering personalized tools and services to support the whole person in a simple and meaningful way.”

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