CIGNALinks® expands in Africa

Mark Coleman discusses the importance of global networks and their increasing relevance as to managing and providing global healthcare.

Mark Coleman
Mark Coleman

As far as multi national clients are concerned, access to global healthcare and the growing importance of legal, regulatory, economic and cultural requirements associated with workforce mobility continues unabated. Alongside an increasing awareness that quality of care, cost management and compliance can’t be ignored, there’s also an acknowledgement that assignment activity is only set to increase, if global growth business objectives are to be achieved. To this end – CIGNA International Expatriate Benefits (CIEB) continues to expand its network programme, in recognition that managing healthcare costs and the fluid global regulatory environment is an arena that clients continue to demand (and expect) expert knowledge and assistance with.

Since 2005, CIEB has offered global coverage with local delivery through CIGNALinks®.

Simply put – this integrates global health care programmes with local administrators (and / or insurers) in selected countries. This comprehensive healthcare provider network offers access to:

  • an extensive US Preferred Provider Organisation (PPO)
  • Over 550,000 GPs, Specialists & Ancillary providers
  • US dental & pharmacy network
  • Over 8,700 hospitals
  • an international network
  • Approx 92,000 providers in 21 countries

This continues to expand and an additional 47,000 health care facilities were added to their existing network in Africa. Effective as of July 1st this year, CIEB has partnered with Medical Services Organisation (MSO) and Global Access Health Network (GAHN) to provide access to medical services through local health care professionals and facilities in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and Morocco and to expedite medical claims processing.

The new CIGNALinks® Africa ID card enables health care facilities to recognise employees and enrolled family members as covered through CIGNALinks® Africa.

Employees only need to show their card when receiving care from in-network CIGNALinks® Africa doctors, hospitals, or clinics – allowing benefits and discounts to be applied accordingly. When accessing care anywhere else in the world, employees then use their CIGNA International ID card.

Further expansion is in the pipeline including Brazil (over 30,000 Providers in all 26 states) and Mexico (over 4,400 Providers Over 200 Hospitals).

The benefits of having access to the CIGNALinks® programme worldwide are clear. For customers, their coverage is wholly recognised by local healthcare professionals who provide seamless, quality healthcare. Not only do they have access to 24/7/365 service centres and simplified claims and reimbursement, but significantly, are safe in the knowledge that the local care delivery will be meeting stringent requirements.

Additionally, potential cost savings to both employers and employees can be obtained as services in network are for the most part, provided at discounted rates and fully integrated with national health plans when possible.

One thing is certain – far from being buzzwords, cost management and compliance are becoming intrinsic components of a viable and robust global healthcare strategy.

And having access to a global healthcare professional network alongside breadth of cover – is no longer a luxury ticket item – it’s a necessity.

*The CIGNALinks® programme is currently available in Africa (Kenya, Morocco, Tanzania, and South Africa) Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar), Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.