Cigna CEO: Supreme Court ruling won't stop health reform, care coordination

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Health reform is here to stay, regardless of how the U.S. Supreme Court rules in the challenge to the healthcare reform law. That's because determining whether the individual mandate is constitutional won't stop market forces from transforming the health insurance industry, Cigna CEO David Cordani told Bloomberg.

"There are a lot of products designed now around incenting health, incenting behavioral change and lifestyle changes and where physicians and hospitals engage in a much more comprehensive fashion," Cordani told the news outlet on Wednesday. "With or without the healthcare law, the economic forces are driving change in any regard."

The insurance industry must evolve because, even if the entire reform law is overturned, "the problem still exists, the problem of affordability, eroding health status, an aging population," Cordani said. "The good news is, a lot of change is unfolding in the marketplace today."

Cordani has maintained this line of thinking, previously stating that insurers should realign their businesses even if the reform law is repealed. He said he wants insurers to contain healthcare costs further, for example, by expanding the use of health savings accounts and improving the payment system, FierceHealthPayer reported.

One example of such change clearly is visible at the nation's biggest bank, JPMorgan Chase, which asked Cigna to overhaul its benefits and switched about 100,000 employees into high-deductible plans with fixed health savings accounts for out-of-pocket expenses. The plans include such features as preventive care coverage, personal health coaches and online tools, Bloomberg reported. "It's an example of change, and it's an example of being much more retail-oriented," Cordani said.

In another sign of the changing times, Cordani said, accountable care organizations increasingly are gaining in popularity. Cigna currently has 17 ACOs that cover 100,000 members, but Cordani said the insurer aims to have one million members covered within ACOs by 2014--that's a 10-fold growth over two years. "We philosophically believe it is a big part of the solution" to rising healthcare costs, he said.

To learn more:
- read the Bloomberg article

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