November 6, 2008

Prescription Financial Aid for People With Blood Cancers

CIGNA Pharmacy Management (CIGNA) and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) are joining forces to promote LLS's efforts to help blood cancer patients cover the costs of prescription co-pays and health insurance premiums.

The costs of cancer are significant. According to the National Cancer Institute, direct medical costs for cancer care in 2004 totaled more than $72 billion. When considering the impact of indirect costs, such as lost productivity due to illness or premature death, the total economic burden reached $190 billion in 2004.

CIGNA is now making the LLS information available through their nurse case managers who work directly with individuals who have cancer. "This is a wonderful service for people who have blood cancers as it has the potential to lift a huge burden off people's shoulders at a time when they should be concentrating on just getting well," said Dr. David Ferriss, CIGNA medical officer for clinical program development. "People with blood cancers are often too sick to continue to work or perform their daily functions, putting a huge strain on an individual and their family. This will be a great resource for these families."

The LLS program offers assistance to blood cancer patients and their families by covering the costs of their private health insurance premiums, co-payment obligations, Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D, Medicare Supplementary Health Insurance and Medicare Advantage premiums or co-payment obligations. Providing up to $5,000 in assistance, the program is designed for individuals who meet certain financial and disease criteria.

"LLS is very grateful that CIGNA is helping to get this critical information out to individuals with blood cancer," said Nancy L. Klein, chief marketing and revenue officer for LLS. "Together we will be able to assist many more people who are struggling to cover the costs of their treatments." For more information about the program, including eligibility and how to apply, visit

The efforts with LLS are part of CIGNA's continuing efforts to assist people who have cancer or are at risk for getting cancer. Some of the programs include:

Comprehensive Oncology Program(R): The program addresses cancer prevention and education, as well as active management of members diagnosed with cancer. Through this program, CIGNA reaches out to at-risk individuals who are overdue for recommended screenings to remind them to schedule appropriate tests, and provides counsel and support to help them adopt healthier lifestyles. The program also supports cancer victims and survivors through prevention, diagnosis, treatment and recovery, with access to specialized nurses, health educators and behavioral health experts. Services include helping cancer victims and their families cope with the emotional impact of cancer, helping them receive family counseling, organizing and preparing for treatment, and end-of-life planning, as needed.

Collaboration with the Lance Armstrong Foundation: CIGNA provides individuals in its comprehensive oncology program with added personal support to cope with the effects on physical, emotional, financial and spiritual health that living with cancer brings. By also providing the LIVESTRONG(TM) Survivorship Notebook and educational materials, the program helps cancer victims become more knowledgeable, informed and empowered participants in their own care.

HopeLab: HopeLab's ground-breaking video game Re-Mission(TM) is designed to help young people better manage their health while undergoing cancer treatment. Research has shown that the game helps teens and young adults stick to their treatment regimens, and CIGNA is offering Re-Mission(TM) at no charge to young patients and their families who are confronting cancer.

Childhood Leukemia Foundation's (CLF) Hope Binder: CIGNA teamed up with the Childhood Leukemia foundation to offer CLF's Hope Binder free of charge to parents of children with cancer at 160 hospitals nationwide. The Hope Binder helps parents manage the overwhelming amount of information related to their child's care including worksheets and resources to help document treatment protocols, medicines, doctor's appointments, blood counts, physicians, hospitals, nutrition concerns, and insurance benefits - all the details that come with facing leukemia, including free telephone calling cards and informational booklets. CIGNA has added a free copy of the video game Re-Mission(TM) in every Hope Binder.

Colorectal Cancer Screening Program: CIGNA sends at-risk individual customers free colorectal cancer home screening kits to encourage people who are over-due for screening to take the test. Individuals covered by CIGNA receive InSure(R) fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kits with the support of Quest Diagnostics. The test helps members screen at home for gastrointestinal bleeding which is often an early indicator for potentially deadly colorectal cancer. Early testing and diagnosis is important as according to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is "Preventable, Treatable, Beatable," and yet over 50,000 Americans die of colon cancer every year.

Walt Disney World Marathon presented by CIGNA: CIGNA, as presenting sponsor of The Walt Disney World Health and Fitness Expo, a three-day celebration focused on health and fitness that involves celebrity runner appearances, seminars on training, racing, and nutrition, along with the opportunity to experience the latest in running and fitness equipment. The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). With the yearly support of thousands of volunteers, the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend has helped Team in Training (TNT) raise millions of dollars for the LLS. The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is LLS's largest fundraising event.

CIGNA Pharmacy Management:

CIGNA Pharmacy Management employs a consultative approach to help plan sponsors design pharmacy benefit plans that achieve lower net costs while providing industry-leading pharmacy clinical programs to help improve health outcomes. "CIGNA,""CIGNA Pharmacy Management,""CIGNA Tel-Drug" and the "Tree of Life" logo are registered service marks of CIGNA Intellectual Property, Inc., licensed for use by CIGNA Corporation and its operating subsidiaries. All products and services are provided exclusively by such operating subsidiaries and not by CIGNA Corporation. Such operating subsidiaries include Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Tel-Drug, Inc., Tel-Drug of Pennsylvania, L.L.C., and HMO or service company subsidiaries of CIGNA Health Corporation.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society:

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society(R), headquartered in White Plains, NY, with 68 chapters in the United States and Canada, is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Since its founding in 1949, LLS has invested more than $600 million in research specifically targeting leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Last year alone, LLS made 6.3 million contacts with patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals. For more information about blood cancer, visit or call the LLS Information Resource Center (IRC), a call center staffed by master's level social workers, nurses and health educators who provide information, support and resources to patients and their families and caregivers. IRC information specialists are available at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.