• Nancy Griffin

Papa, Cigna Team Up to Drive Better Health Outcomes by Combating Loneliness

On-demand companionship and daily life assistance available to Cigna Medicare Advantage and MA Dual Special Needs Plan customers in nine states


Papa, a curated platform of companionship and support for older adults and other vulnerable populations, today announced a collaboration with Cigna, extending Papa's unique care approach to 72,000 Cigna Medicare Advantage customers across nine states starting this month.

Select Cigna Medicare Advantage (MA) and MA Dual Special Needs Plan customers in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Texas, Florida, Alabama and Arizona now have access to Papa's social connection program. Papa's vetted and trained companions, called "Papa Pals," are paired with older adults and other individuals who need help with critical day-to-day tasks that support overall health and well-being, but are non-medical in nature — ranging from social experiences, household help and technology troubleshooting, to transportation to the grocery or the doctor's office. This support also helps to reduce the stress on caregivers.

Cigna has been a leader for years in understanding and addressing loneliness, so this is a natural collaboration," said Andrew Parker, Papa founder and CEO. "Our Papa Pals can help identify and advocate for member needs. Most critically, Papa Pals provide needed human interaction and support that improves health outcomes. The model has proven successful with older adults, and we're honored to be entrusted by Cigna to further our impact for many more who stand to benefit."

Even before the pandemic, Cigna's research found loneliness among Americans was increasing with a staggering three in five Americans feeling lonely, a sharp increase from 2018. Since then, many Americans – including older adults – have faced even more loneliness stemming from stay-at-home orders and social distancing from friends and family. Health plans are turning to Papa to combat loneliness, which in turn serves Papa's top three imperatives of reduced total cost of care, improved customer experience, and increased CMS Star Ratings.

"Cigna and Papa have a shared imperative to address the root causes of some of our nation's largest health issues, which includes loneliness and isolation," said Aparna Abburi, Cigna's Medicare president. "We have been an advocate for understanding how loneliness impacts health and wellness -- and we're acting on it. Together with Papa, we're excited to bring this truly unique benefit to those who qualify, as we deliver on our promise to help customers achieve optimal health, well-being, and peace of mind at any stage."

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