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-- Aetna HealthFund
HARTFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aetna (NYSE: AET) today announced the results of a six-year study of health care claims and utilization for members in its Aetna HealthFund® consumer-directed plans. The study of 2.6 million Aetna members (410,000 in an Aetna HealthFund plan) demonstrates that Aetna HealthFund shows sustained savings for employers over a five-year period, with members getting the care they need. The results also show that Aetna HealthFund members are seeking increased levels of chronic and preventive care, using generic drugs more often and accessing online tools and information at higher rates than PPO members, while experiencing lower annualized medical cost increases. Importantly, this year’s results also show that Aetna HealthFund members had lower emergency room use than PPO members, suggesting that members are becoming better informed about where to access health care.
The Aetna HealthFund study included 200 plan sponsors who offered an Aetna HealthFund Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) and/or an Aetna HealthFund Health Savings Account (HSA). The study looked at 2.6 million members across the spectrum of Aetna medical products, including 410,000 Aetna HealthFund members. Key findings include:
“In these difficult economic times, employers are looking for tried and true strategies that will allow them to continue to offer their employees a comprehensive and affordable benefits package,” said Aetna President Mark Bertolini. “As the first national health plan to offer consumer-directed products, Aetna has the longest experience with these plans and the best insight into what strategies are successful.”
Last year, Aetna identified several strategies that have proven successful for employers, including fostering a culture where employees and senior executives are engaged health care consumers, implementing a focused and ongoing employee education campaign, offering wellness programs and incentives for healthy behavior, providing 100 percent coverage for preventive care and carefully constructing a plan with the right mix of member responsibility. While these strategies continue to be successful, Aetna found another approach that can help employers achieve success - encouraging their employees to enroll in the consumer-directed plan option. This can be done by offering the consumer-directed plan option as the lowest cost, lowering the required contribution or increasing the fund amount. Furthermore, this year’s results show that employers who implement these strategies can achieve significant cost savings and that more employers are adopting these strategies and seeing positive results.
“Consumerism in health care is about much more than a product – it is the idea that with the right mix of education, member responsibility and benefits design, you can engage members and help them make more informed health care decisions for themselves and their families. In fact, this year’s results show that consumers in the Aetna HealthFund plans sought online health information twice as often as the control population and were twice as likely to take a health risk assessment,” Bertolini added.
The results also show that Aetna HealthFund members:
“Aetna’s analysis of members in its Aetna HealthFund plans exemplifies the importance of providing credible data that will help employers evaluate the performance of these plans. It is always a challenge to adopt new ideas, particularly in the face of a recession,” said Alexander Domaszewicz, Mercer’s Health Consumerism Lead. “The study reinforces the evidence we’ve seen emerge throughout the decade - that strategies such as encouraging employee financial responsibility, offering robust coverage for preventive care and providing a full suite of online tools and information, is helping employers achieve cost savings, promote a healthier workforce and still meet plan sponsor attraction, retention and employee satisfaction goals. We need to recognize, however, that many employees need high touch outreach and face-to-face support when they face complex illnesses. The ideal strategy when implementing consumer-directed health plans combines all of these approaches in the right way.”
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.5 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com