Preparing for the Impact of a Pandemic
We understand that the services we provide are critical to our plan sponsors and members, particularly during a health care crisis. That's why we believe it's important to share with you insight into how we are prepared to help our members during a pandemic. This overview includes:
- Our plans to continue our business operations during and following a pandemic, including our readiness to change coverage or other policies as needed
- Educational information about the flu and preventing infection that you can share with your employees, including an online training course
- Where you can go for more information
Our Pandemic Preparations
How Aetna Stands Ready to Help
Preparing to maintain business operations in a time of crisis is nothing new to Aetna. We have an extensive business continuity program in place that is designed to prepare us to react to a broad range of crises affecting our employees, facilities and data.
While our robust business continuity program provided the springboard for our activities during the H1N1 pandemic, we are continually enhancing our procedures to design plans specific for the unique challenges associated with a pandemic.
Aetna's pandemic readiness activities focus on eight areas. When a pandemic threatens, we will:
- Leverage our business continuity strategies for contingency staffing to ensure we can serve our customers, members and providers
- Develop alternate operating models aligned with stages of a pandemic
- Determine which coverage policies might need to be modified in a pandemic and when to implement modifications. For example, in 2009 we made the decision to cover the administration of the H1N1 vaccine at no cost for all fully insured medical plan members, and all members of self-funded plans unless directed otherwise by the plan sponsor. We also broadened the types of providers we would reimburse for the vaccine.
- Implement a workplace infection control program
- Monitor situation reports from the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other authoritative bodies so that we are ready to enact our plans as needed
- Collaborate with other leading organizations where appropriate to improve outcomes in the event that a pandemic has significant impacts on members, employers or the health care system.
- Evaluate the pandemic readiness of our critical suppliers and business partners
- Communicate with employees, members, plan sponsors, providers and other key constituents
Aetna's pandemic plans are consistent with the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza developed by the federal government. We continually monitor our preparedness using a pandemic planning checklist designed specifically for health insurers, provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you would like a copy of our current assessment, please ask your Aetna representative. For your own pandemic readiness, check out the resources for employers on the U.S. government's flu.gov site.