Cigna's headquarters (Photo: Michael Nagle/BB)

Cigna Corp. will be spending $250 million to see how private companies could change the U.S. health care system next.

The Bloomfield, Connecticut-based health insurer announced Wednesday that has set up Cigna Ventures — a corporate venture capital funder that will invest in “transformative and innovative health care companies..”

(Related: Startups Lead a New Rush Into ACA’s Now-Profitable Markets)

Cigna notes that it has already been investing in startups, both on its own and together with other organizations. The list of companies that has received Cigna venture capital help includes Omada Health, Prognos, Contessa Health, MDLIVE and Cricket Health.

Cricket Health, for example, provides home care for patients with severe kidney disease.

Omada Health provides an online coaching program for people who need to lose weight.

The new Cigna Ventures fund will focus on companies that have ideas about how to improve health care itself, rather than ideas about how to improve health insurance and other health care finance programs.

Fund managers will look for early-stage ideas that could be used as the basis for pilot programs in the real world.

— Read Bestow Raises $15 Million From Investorson ThinkAdvisor.

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