Cigna Policies to Cover HIV

June 28, 2002 ( - Employees of companies that buy their medical insurance from Cigna Corp. may soon be covered if they contract the HIV virus in a workplace accident.

The added coverage will be free, a Cigna spokesperson told a Dow Jones reporter.

In a press release, Cigna said the benefit is designed primarily for health-care employees such as hospital emergency room staffers or emergency medical technicians whose jobs pose a higher-than-normal risk of illness due to accident.

Beneficiaries of the extended coverage now will be able to take care of some of the costs associated with HIV and AIDS, including special home accommodations, exercise, food regimens, and housekeeping services, CIGNA said.

According to the company, 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.