Administrative cost of H1N1 vaccine to be covered for CIGNA's customers

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The spread of the H1N1 influenza virus has the potential to make this year’s flu season more severe than usual. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designated vaccination as the most powerful public health tool to control influenza.

Consistent with its mission to improve the health, well-being and sense of security of the people it serves, CIGNA will cover the cost to administer the H1N1 vaccine as a preventive care benefit once the vaccine becomes available. There will be no deductibles, co-pays or coinsurance, and prior authorization will not be required. CIGNA will pay the allowed administrative cost, while the federal government will pay for the vaccine itself.

This coverage policy will apply to people enrolled in insured health plans, where CIGNA funds an individual’s medical claims covered under the plan. CIGNA will also strongly encourage self-insured employers to cover the full cost to ensure that the greatest number of people are protected. Most CIGNA customers are enrolled in a “self-insured” plan, where the employer itself funds medical claims and makes decisions about what is covered, while CIGNA administers the health plan for the employer.

CIGNA will communicate important information about H1N1 vaccination through its Web portal, CIGNA.com. It will also educate people through its 24-hour health information line, its case managers and its Health Advisor nurse teams. Individuals will be directed to their physician or other health care professional to discuss their specific health status, especially if they are in a high-risk category or have a chronic health condition.

In a podcast CIGNA has recorded about H1N1 influenza, Dr. Andrea Houfek, medical director for urgent care and pediatrics at Cigna Medical Group, explains the difference between H1N1 and seasonal flu, describes flu symptoms and offers practical advice on how to reduce the risk of catching the flu. This and other CIGNA health and wellness podcasts are available to the public at http://www.itstimetofeelbetter.com/know_stuff/audio.html.

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