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CIGNA

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

CIGNA is a major U.S. health insurance corporation, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to its website, CIGNA "provides health care and related benefits offered through the workplace. Key product lines include health care products and services (medical, pharmacy, behavioral health, clinical information management, dental and vision benefits, and case and disease management); and group disability, life and accident insurance. In addition, CIGNA also provides life, accident, health and expatriate employee benefits insurance coverage in selected international markets, primarily in Asia and Europe." In 2008, CIGNA reported $19.1 billion in revenues. [1]

CIGNA belongs to the insurance industry group America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). In June 2009, AHIP sent a letter to Senator Edward Kennedy, warning of "devastating consequences" if Congress and the Obama administration included a public health insurance option in health care reform. A public option "would dismantle employer-based coverage, significantly increase costs for those who remain in private coverage, and add additional liabilities to the federal budget," the letter claimed. [2]

Public relations

In March 2009, PR Week reported that CIGNA had been "positioning itself" as a source of health information "for years as part of an overall effort to change the way Cigna does business because consumers have become more involved with their healthcare and prevention has become a bigger issue." CIGNA's director of corporate communications, Chris Curran, said the company was "educating its consumers about the complex issue of [healthcare] reform," and had told its members "what it believes the role of the government should be and what individual insurance mandates should look like." [3]

In July 2008, CIGNA launched "an integrated national campaign ... to reinforce its rebranding as a health services company." The campaign, called "It's time to feel better," was "aimed at a consumer audience, although media outreach has included some b-to-b [business-to-business] and trade publications." The public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard worked on the campaign. CIGNA described the campaign as part of its efforts, going back to 2005, to rebrand "as a health services company and away from a health insurance company." [4]

As of February 2004, the firm Shirley & Banister Public Affairs listed CIGNA as a client on its website. [5]

In 2001, CIGNA gave Weber Shandwick Worldwide its over $1 million public relations account. The firm was tasked with "showcas[ing] the Philadephia-based company's strengths in the healthcare arena," reported O'Dwyer's. [6]

Political and lobbying activities

Political action committee

CIGNA's political action committee (PAC) raised $377,740 and spent $374,884 in the 2008 elections. Among federal candidates, 38% of CIGNA PAC's money went to Democrats and 62% to Republicans in 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. [7]

CIGNA's PAC raised and spent more in previous election cycles. In 2004, the PAC spent $750,765, with 84% of its funding for federal candidates going to Republicans. [8] In 2002, the PAC spent $1,055,501, with 85% of its federal candidate donations going to Republicans. [9]

Lobbying

In the first quarter of 2009 alone, CIGNA reported spending $450,000 on in-house lobbyists. The company also retains outside lobbying firms, including Blank Rome LLP, Heather Podesta & Partners, Nickles Group, and Steptoe & Johnson. [10] CIGNA's in-house lobbyists reported lobbying on a wide range of bills and issues, including the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act, the Healthy Workforce Act, the Health Insurance Assistance for Unemployed Act of 2009, "ongoing implementation issues for the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug programs," "Chronic Care Medicare Health Support Organizations Estimates," and "45 Day Notice of Change in Payment Methodology." [11]

In the first three months of 2009, Blank Rome reported lobbying for CIGNA on "issues related to Medicaid/Medicare, general health insurance issues, sale of health insurance across state lines, health information technology issues, health information privacy issues, pension issues." [12] Over the same time period, Heather Podesta & Partners reported lobbying for CIGNA on Title XIII of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, on "Health Information Technology." The firm also reported that it was "monitor[ing] health care reform proposals" for CIGNA. [13]

Also in the first quarter of 2009, the Nickles Group reported lobbying for CIGNA on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009, "as it relates to state options for premium assistance," as well as House and Senate resolutions "setting forth the Congressional budget for the U.S. Government for FY [fiscal year] 2010, as it relates to health care reform." [14] Over the same time period, the Steptoe & Johnson firm lobbied for CIGNA on what it described as "issues relating to General Health, and Health Care legislation," as well as "issues related to defined benefits and pensions." [15]

In 2006, CIGNA spent $680,000 on lobbying. $120,000 went to two lobbying firms, Blank Rome LLP and Williams & Jensen, with the remainder being spent on CIGNA's in-house lobbyists. [16]

History

Ad boycott against Air America Radio

CIGNA refused to advertise on the progressive Air America Radio. In October 2006, around 90 companies, including CIGNA, told ABC Radio Networks that they did not want their ads to play on radio stations that carried Air America Radio. [17] [18] [19]

Tobacco industry involvement

Censorship on behalf of Philip Morris

Philip Morris worked with Cigna HealthCare between 1996 and 1999 to censor smoking-related information from health newsletters delivered to Philip Morris employees. E-mails written by managers at Philip Morris and Cigna show that between 1996 and 1999 the two companies shared information about the content of upcoming health articles, and that Cigna agreed to remove or to edit pieces that were objectionable to Philip Morris.

Both companies acknowledged to the Minneapolis Star Tribune that newsletters were censored, but they contended that it was done to help Philip Morris deal with an employee morale problem caused by lawsuits against the industry.

Howard Drescher, a spokesman for Cigna said, "Philip Morris was paying for a product that is specific to them and in that regard we have to listen to their requests." "We work with our customers to try to help them meet their business needs," he said.

The details of the arrangement came to light through documents obtained from the Minnesota Tobacco Document Depository as part of a lawsuit filed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans against the tobacco industry. The depository was established under the 1998 settlement of Minnesota's lawsuit. Public health advocates contended that the arrangement between Philip Morris and Cigna was not as benign as the companies claim. It suggests, they said, that Philip Morris and Cigna were willing to put business concerns before health concerns for employees.

"If they [Cigna officials] deliberately took out information that would otherwise be included, and as result there was a health problem, there could be liability," said John Banzhaf of the Washington, D .C.-based Action on Smoking and Health, US. Cigna, at the time the country's third-largest health insurer, was paid by Philip Morris to produce a special edition of its quarterly "Well-Being" newsletter for Philip Morris, which includes Kraft Foods and Miller Beer. Cigna provided health insurance for Philip Morris employees since 1992. Its edited newsletters were only distributed to Philip Morris and Kraft employees that chose to be insured by Cigna.[20][21]

Nataline Sarkisyan incident, 2007

Nataline Sarkisyan was a 17 year old teenager from Glendale, California who had leukemia. She received a bone marrow transplant from her brother, but became sicker. Her doctors recommended she receive a liver transplant but her insurance company, Cigna, denied the operation. The family went to the media with the story of Cigna's denial of treatment for their dying daughter, and a group of teenagers and nurses protested the denial of healthcare outside Cigna's offices. Doctors at the UCLA Medical Center signed a letter urging Cigna to review its decision, and in the meantime sedated Nataline into a coma to stabilize her as the family filed appeals in the case. During the protest, Nataline's mother received a call from Cigna saying they approved the liver transplant, but it was too late. Her that her daughter's condition had worsened. The family was forced to make the decision to remove her from life support, and she died shortly after. The family retained attorney Mark Geragos to sue Cigna over the delayed denial. Geragos said that Cigna had "maliciously killed" Nataline and that he hoped to press murder or manslaughter charges against Cigna HealthCare for her death.[22]

Personnel

As of June 2009: [23]

  • H. Edward Hanway, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CIGNA Corporation - 2008 pay reported as $7.79 million, plus $1.58 million in exercised options for the year [24]
  • David M. Cordani, President, COO, CIGNA Corporation
  • Jeffrey Kang, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, CIGNA Corporation
  • John M. Murabito, Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Services, CIGNA Corporation
  • Carol Ann Petren, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, CIGNA Corporation
  • Michael D. Woeller, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, CIGNA Corporation

Board of Directors

As of January 2009: [25]

Former personnel

Contact details

Two Liberty Place
1601 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19192
Phone: 215-761-1000
Fax: 215-761-5515
Web: http://www.cigna.com

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. "About us: Investor relations," CIGNA website, accessed June 2009.
  2. Patrick Yoest, "Insurance Industry Warns on Health-Care Proposals," Wall Street Journal (sub req'd), June 23, 2009.
  3. Jaimy Lee, "Reform spurs healthcare groups into action," PR Week, March 4, 2009.
  4. Jaimy Lee, "Latest Cigna push fortifies its rebranding," PR Week, July 23, 2008.
  5. "Clients: Shirley & Banister Public Affairs," as of February 11, 2004, via Archive.org (accessed June 2009).
  6. "WSW Works to Boost Cigna's Profile," O'Dwyer's PR Daily (sub req'd), July 23, 2001.
  7. "CIGNA Corp 2008 PAC Summary Data," OpenSecrets.org, accessed June 2009.
  8. "CIGNA Corp 2004 PAC Summary Data," OpenSecrets.org, accessed June 2009.
  9. "CIGNA Corp 2002 PAC Summary Data," OpenSecrets.org, accessed June 2009.
  10. "CIGNA lobbying spending 2009," OpenSecrets.org, accessed June 2009.
  11. "First quarter lobbying report, CIGNA," Senate Office on Public Records lobbying database, accessed June 2009.
  12. "First quarter lobbying report, Blank Rome for CIGNA," Senate Office on Public Records lobbying database, accessed June 2009.
  13. "First quarter lobbying report, Heather Podesta & Partners for CIGNA," Senate Office on Public Records lobbying database, accessed June 2009.
  14. "First quarter lobbying report, Nickles Group for CIGNA," Senate Office on Public Records lobbying database, accessed June 2009.
  15. "First quarter lobbying report, Steptoe & Johnson for CIGNA," Senate Office on Public Records lobbying database, accessed June 2009.
  16. CIGNA lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed October 2007.
  17. Marc Fisher, "Air America, in the Throes of Victory?", The Washington Post, December 10, 2006.
  18. "Air America on Ad Blacklist?", FAIR, October 31, 2006.
  19. "Air America Blackout", FAIR.org/ABC memo, October 25, 2006.
  20. G. Howatt, Minneapolis Star Tribune Tobacco Documents Reveal Censorship Agreement with Insurer Newspaper article. 3 pp. 1999. Bates No. 2078039368A/9370
  21. Associated Press Cigna edits out smoking warnings March 20, 2000.Bates No. 2082105791/5792
  22. ABC News Health Insurer to Be Charged With Teen's Murder: California Family Will Sue Medical Insurer for Delaying a Potentially Lifesaving Surgery, December 21, 2007. Accessed July 14, 2009
  23. "About us: Executives," CIGNA website, accessed June 2009.
  24. "CIGNA profile," Yahoo! Finance, accessed June 2009.
  25. "About us: Corporate governance," CIGNA website, accessed June 2009.

External resources

External articles

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