NEW YORK -- New York Life Insurance Co. and Cigna Corp. said Tuesday they are setting up a $100 million fund to support the families of health care workers who have died treating COVID-19 patients.
The philanthropic arms of the two insurers will contribute $25 million each to the Brave of Heart Fund, which will support the survivors of fallen health care workers around the country, the companies said. The New York Life Foundation will additionally match contributions from individuals to the fund up to another $25 million.
Cigna will offer counseling to the families by phone and online.
"The heroes today are not only the courageous and selfless frontline healthcare workers and volunteers who, without hesitation and without question, have put themselves in harm’s way to help those who desperately need it, but also their families who are living with the anxiety and fear of what may happen to their loved ones in the days ahead,” Ted Mathas, chairman and CEO of New York Life Insurance Company, said in a statement.
Cigna President and CEO David M. Cordani said, "We are proud to partner with New York Life to support the families of these American heroes who give so much while treating others."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that based on limited data, about 9,000 U.S. health care workers had positive coronavirus tests as of April 9 and 27 had died. The true number of fallen health care workers is likely much higher.
The Brave of Heart Fund will make its first grants of $15,000 next month, the companies said, and eligible families of fallen health care workers can get up to $60,000 more.
The fund will be administered through E4E Relief, a subsidiary of the charity Foundation For The Carolinas. Grants will be made subject to a determination of need.