CIGNA Offers Benefits for Health Care Workers Who Accidentally Contract HIV

It happens in the blink of an eye: A medical worker gets pricked by a used needle. Fortunately, in most cases, there is no medical side effect beyond the momentary sting of the pinprick. But that's not always the case, and CIGNA Group Insurance is doing something about it.

Each year, doctors, nurses, lab technicians, housekeepers and janitors in hospitals and medical facilities across the country sustain 800,000 to 1 million needlesticks, resulting in up to 5,000 new cases of HIV or one of the hepatitis strains as a result of these accidents.

To help address the far-reaching physical and financial implications of this problem, CIGNA Group Insurance has decided to cover insured employees who contract HIV as a result of a workplace accident.

"We understand the impact of this disease on those who live with it," said Anthony Perez, senior vice president, Accident & Specialty Business, CIGNA Group Insurance. "The feature we've added to our accident insurance coverage provides benefits to help soften the financial blow associated with the non-medical expenses of HIV and AIDS. This benefit can be used to cover some of the costs associated with this illness, including special home accommodations, exercise and food regimens, or housekeeping services for the patient. Our goal is to do all we can to make day-to-day living a little easier for people who can use a hand."

The new coverage is designed primarily for health care employees whose jobs pose a higher-than-normal risk of illness due to accident - hospital emergency room staffers or emergency medical technicians, for example.

"We believe benefits like this can help health care employers alleviate some of the concerns and anxieties their employees feel about the risks they face on the job every day," said Perez.

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