Cigna acquires digital health software provider Brighter

By Jonah Comstock
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Health insurer Cigna announced Friday that it has acquired digital health software-as-a-service company Brighter. Cigna will use the technology and team to develop future member-facing mobile and desktop tools, as well as continuing to run Brighter as a tool for its existing customers.

“We’re committed to delivering superior experiences that better connect consumers with high-quality healthcare providers and wellness programs,” David M. Cordani, president and CEO at Cigna, said in a statement. “The acquisition of Brighter accelerates our progress towards these priorities and in establishing us as the leader in the digital transformation of our industry.”

Brighter, which started out in dentistry but has since branched out into other healthcare areas, offers a website that helps users find and compare care providers. The service allows users to compare out-of-pocket expenses based on the user’s health plan, view provider profiles that include background and credentials, see reviews from other patients, and schedule appointments online. In addition, administrators can use Brighter’s backend for administrative tasks, which includes sending patients surveys, keeping their calendar updated, and reminding patients about follow-up appointments. 

Brighter raised $21 million last fall. At the time it was already working with Cigna, which was making Brighter's platform available to its 11 million Dental PPO members and 139,000 participating dentists.

“When we started Brighter, we set out to use technology and consumerism to improve the health insurance experience and reduce unnecessary costs,” Jake Winebaum, Brighter's CEO, said in a statement. “Our experience with Cigna as a partner over the past two years has proven that those goals can be accomplished. I am extremely excited to now be joining Cigna to further the realization of our shared mission. By combining Cigna’s expertise, ambition and scale with Brighter’s team and technology, we look forward to delivering innovative new solutions for Cigna’s customers and providers.”

Several Cigna executives dived into the company's member-facing digital strategy at Health 2.0's fall conference in Santa Clara, particularly the insurer's OneGuide offering. 

“‘Putting the customer at the center of all we do’ is an easy phrase, but for a company that historically has made its bread and butter off of a B2B type of relationship, it has been a big shift for us to turn that statement into actual action,” Jackie Aube, Cigna's VP of customer adoption and personalization, said at the time.

Cigna said in a statement that the acquisition of Brighter will help "[accelerate] the development of Cigna’s mobile and desktop platforms and [create] new end-to-end experiences that connect health consumers and providers with the guidance, support, and incentives they need to increase quality of care and maximize cost-savings."