Cigna + Oscar Helps Small Business Owners who Recognize that a Healthy Workforce is the Key to a Vibrant Business in COVID-19 Environment

Approximately two-thirds of small businesses say that providing health insurance to their employees is now a higher priority as a result of COVID-19. In Atlanta, the San Francisco Bay Area and across Tennessee, Cigna + Oscar will offer small businesses access to affordable local health insurance products. Covered employees will have access to free 24/7 virtual doctor visits, low cost prescription coverage, behavioral health support and access to multiple Cigna networks of quality physicians, specialists and hospitals – all to support a healthy and productive workforce, the foundation of a vibrant company. Cigna + Oscar expect significant interest in offerings with more than 50% of small businesses considering or unsure about changing their health insurer heading into 2021.

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. and NEW YORK, June 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Small businesses have been significantly hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to new research from Cigna and Oscar, 70% of small businesses have seen a decline in their revenue, and 52% have laid off or furloughed employees. As small businesses begin to reopen, the majority of decision makers reported that providing health insurance to employees is a higher priority in their budgets (66%), and that access to affordable solutions that support employee health and well-being (88%) – physical and mental – will be more important going forward.

Today, Cigna and Oscar are announcing that Cigna + Oscar, a new affordable and consumer-first health insurance for small businesses, will be available in Atlanta and in the San Francisco Bay Area and across Tennessee, including Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga effective Q4 2020, pending regulatory approvals.*

The fully-insured health plans available through Cigna + Oscar include no charge, 24/7 virtual doctor visits, $3 drug co-pays** and dedicated Care Team member support, all coupled with access to multiple Cigna networks of quality physicians, specialists and hospitals. The affordable plans are designed to fit the budgets of small businesses and provide care that’s personalized to employees’ needs.

The partnership also expands access to behavioral health services through Cigna Behavioral Health’s specialized coaching programs and 24/7 crisis helpline.

“Companies across the U.S. have long recognized that investment in the health of employees and their families is critical, because they know that a healthy and productive workforce is a key driver of their business success,” said Julie McCarter, vice president of product solutions at Cigna.  “Now that link has been magnified, as employers large and small view a healthy workforce as a condition of getting their businesses up and running again in a COVID-19 environment.  Through our partnership, we are providing more choices for affordable, predictable and simple health coverage to small businesses at a time when they need it most.”

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy and have been significantly challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chelsea Cooper, senior vice president of small group business at Oscar. “Cigna + Oscar was created with the purpose of addressing small businesses’ unique challenges through solutions tailored to their budgets and care designed to prioritize their employees’ health needs. Their top priority is our top priority, and right now that’s recovery.”

The Cigna + Oscar survey of over 1,000 small business decision makers released today finds that 88% of U.S. small business decision makers say the health and well-being of employees is a primary concern following the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 50% of small businesses are considering or unsure about changing their health insurer heading into 2021.

  • Respondents report that wellness benefits and health insurance rank as the top two most important benefits to offer their employees, above flexible or remote work options, financial planning resources like a 401(k), dental and vision insurance, and paid time off.
  • Top factors that would influence small businesses to change their health insurer include a large network of top hospitals, doctors, and specialists, and better understanding and greater care about their business and employees.
  • Whether an insurer provides flexible options to support business recovery and broad access to digital tools like telemedicine is more important to small businesses following the pandemic.

The survey results by region trend even higher.  Small businesses in Atlanta, GA (84%), Northern CA (77%), and Nashville, TN (73%) said that health insurance is more important in their budgets as a result of COVID-19, compared to 66% of national respondents. A majority of small businesses in Northern CA (57%) and Atlanta (51%) and nearly half of respondents in Nashville (48%) are actively considering changing their small business’s health insurer heading into 2021, which is at least twice the rate of national respondents (24%).

While all respondents place more importance on the cost-effectiveness of health insurance factors like premiums and deductibles following the pandemic, local small businesses also value elements that have not been traditionally offered by many health insurance companies.

  • 74% of small businesses in Northern California indicated that flexible options to support recovery and communications and resources are the top two factors for them in selecting an insurer.
  • 75% of Nashville small business decision makers value an insurer that offers affordable coverage for employees’ dependents like children.
  • 78% of small businesses in Atlanta say high-quality, personalized customer service and dedicated care support teams are more important to them following the pandemic.


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