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CIGNA Workplace Accommodation Services Help Employers Meet New Americans with Disabilities Act Requirements and Keep Workers Productive and on the Job


With the Likelihood of Increased Workplace Accommodation Requests, CIGNA Launches a New Program with Direct Access to Vocational Rehabilitation Experts and Job Accommodation Network Resources

PHILADELPHIA.- Employers nationwide may soon see a rise in the number of employees requesting workplace accommodations for a disability as a result of the recently enacted Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). To help disability clients address the new requirements and provide solutions to meet employees’ needs, CIGNA (NYSE:CI) today said it has launched the CIGNA Workplace Accommodation ServicesSM program. Most of these services are included at no cost to CIGNA disability plan customers and can help employees contribute to their full potential.

According to a study by the Job Accommodation Network, for every dollar invested in workplace accommodations, employers receive about $10 in return benefits including increased worker productivity and saved costs associated with training a new employee1. CIGNA’s vocational rehabilitation counselors identify ways to keep people at work or return to work after a disability. As part of the CIGNA Workplace Accommodation Services program, employers can access counselors through a toll-free helpline, seek assistance with identifying at-risk employees who may be headed for disability if steps aren’t taken to prevent it, and create well-documented job descriptions that assess an employee’s or applicant’s ability to perform a specific job function.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), originally signed into law in 1990, prohibits employment-related discrimination against disabled employees and job applicants. The ADAAA, which took effect January 1, 2009, substantially broadened the definition of who may attempt to seek protection under the ADA, making it easier for an individual to establish that he or she is “disabled” for ADA purposes.

“It’s a reasonable assumption that the ADA amendment will likely lead to an increase in the number and variety of workplace accommodation requests. Many employers aren’t sure what to expect and may struggle with putting the necessary pieces in place,” said Dr. Robert Anfield, chief medical officer for CIGNA’s disability programs. “While CIGNA cannot provide legal counsel for clients, CIGNA’s vocational rehabilitation counselors have a wealth of experience helping people stay at work or return to work after a disability. With this program, we’re sharing our expertise with clients to help in their efforts to comply with the new law, while maintaining or even enhancing workplace productivity.”

The CIGNA Workplace Accommodation Services has three main components:

* ADA Helpline and association with the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) – Provided at no cost, CIGNA’s ADA helpline gives disability clients access to experts who can help them more quickly connect to the right JAN resource and who can discuss CIGNA programs that support ADAAA compliance. The helpline is staffed with certified and Masters-prepared vocational rehabilitation counselors, who have also attained Certified ADA Administrator designations and completed professional training from the Job Accommodation Network.
* Helping employees stay at work - Individuals with physical and/or psychological limitations associated with a progressive illness or condition sometimes fail to identify warning signs that could lead to a disability. CIGNA’s vocational rehabilitation counselors have the expertise and experience to recognize employees who may need help to prevent a disability. Counselors can provide expanded intervention services, for example, assessments of the employee’s ability to perform tasks required for their position, ergonomic accommodations and assistance with equipment purchases, and an on-site review of the overall workplace environment.

In addition, CIGNA’s fee-based Job Analysis Service helps disability clients develop ADAAA-compliant job descriptions after a thorough review a position’s job functions within an organization and a process to identify a job’s physical and cognitive demands. This information can help a disability client objectively assess an employee’s ability to perform specific required functions and make informed job accommodation decisions.

* Reasonable Accommodation Benefit - Available as part of CIGNA’s long-term disability plan coverage, CIGNA can help pay some of the costs required for a job accommodation, such as new equipment or technology that can return an employee to work.


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