Aetna Announces Support For Individual Health Insurance Requirement
Company is the first national insurer to support requirement
PHILADELPHIA, Pa., April 29, 2005 —
Aetna (NYSE: AET)
today announced support for an individual health insurance requirement, whereby states or the federal government would require individuals to obtain basic health insurance coverage. Presented as part of his speech at the company’s 2005 Annual Shareholder Meeting, Aetna Chairman and CEO John W. Rowe, M.D., noted that "if structured properly, individual coverage requirements have the potential to expand access to quality health care and ease the financial crisis facing the health care system. The problem of the uninsured is daunting, but it is not unsolvable.
"Individual coverage requirements are a common sense approach to addressing America’s uninsured problem," Rowe said. "While there are legitimate concerns about how to implement these requirements, primarily related to costs or placing undue burdens on employers or insurers, we should not let such concerns prevent us from exploring promising solutions.
"Aetna believes that all Americans should have health coverage, and an individual coverage requirement that encourages personal responsibility could be a critical step toward that goal. However, in advancing such a requirement for those who can afford health coverage, we also must make provision to assist those who cannot, or for whom access is limited, through appropriate public support. To be workable, subsidies for low-income individuals should be paid for through a broad-based funding mechanism. No single industry or employers as a group should be taxed disproportionately."
The success of such a plan depends upon assuring that those in need receive a fairly devised subsidy, and that everyone is able to take advantage of options and innovations in health care coverage that are available only through a competitive, private marketplace not unduly encumbered by regulation. A common, flexible approach to the individual coverage requirement, through either a national standard or coordinated action by the states, would help keep costs down and encourage compliance.
Aetna remains committed to developing new solutions to make quality, affordable health insurance available to more Americans.
As one of the nation’s leading providers of health care, dental, pharmacy, group life, disability and long-term care benefits, Aetna puts information and helpful resources to work for its approximately 14.4 million medical members, 12.8 million dental members, 9.0 million pharmacy members and 14.0 million group insurance members to help them make better informed decisions about their health care and protect their finances against health-related risks. Aetna provides easy access to cost-effective health care through a nationwide network of more than 672,000 health care professionals, including approximately 412,000 primary care and specialist doctors and 4,084 hospitals. For more information, please visit www.aetna.com. (Figures as of March 31, 2005)