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Cigna to establish health care clinics on military bases in Afghanistan

Health insurer Cigna has forged into new agreements with TMH Medical Services and Onsite OHS to establish two new health care clinics on the Kandahar and Bagram air bases in Afghanistan.

Cigna said that the new clinics will serve government contractors and other employees working in Afghanistan and are endorsed by the US military.

In addition, through Cigna’s arrangement with Onsite OHS, a new clinic is scheduled to open soon on the Bagram air base.

According Cigna, through these on-base clinics, workers can take advantage of primary health care, urgent care, routine physicals, basic laboratory and radiology services, pharmacy services and dental services.

Under the direction of physicians, care will be provided by physician assistants and registered nurses who are trained in western medicine and speak English.

To make it simple and easy for customers working in high stress environments, the clinics will bill Cigna directly for services provided to customers, eliminating the need for Cigna customers to file a claim and then get reimbursed.

To access medical care from any of these facilities, individuals required to simply present their Cigna customer ID card at the time of service and pay any deductible or copayment or coinsurance amounts that apply under their plan. Cigna and the clinics will coordinate the rest of the billing and payment process.

Cigna International Expatriate Benefits chief network officer Timothy Blevins said the company recognized that medical care for clients’ employees and contractors on military bases in Afghanistan was limited to conditions that were life-threatening or disabling, leaving them with virtually no options for routine health care services on base.

As a result, workers were forced to seek care in surrounding countries, which was costly and disruptive to their assignments, Blevins added.

TMH Medical Services is expected to expand to more bases in Afghanistan throughout 2011. Cigna is also in talks with other health care professionals and hospitals in the region and actively exploring opportunities to create expanded access to high quality health care services.