Aetna Statement In Support Of Massachusetts Law To Cover The Uninsured
First insurer to support an individual insurance requirement notes importance of focus on health disparities and young adults
HARTFORD, Conn., April 12, 2006 — Aetna (NYSE: ΑET), the first national insurer to advocate an individual insurance requirement to address the growing number of uninsured, today recognized the importance of the new law signed by Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. The measure is designed to reach an estimated 550,000 uninsured in Massachusetts by requiring residents to purchase health insurance.
"We believe that Massachusetts is taking an important step by developing a comprehensive statewide plan to make affordable health coverage available to its residents," said Ronald A. Williams, Aetna’s CEO and president. "In announcing our support for an individual insurance requirement last April, we said that it was a common sense approach to addressing the single greatest strain on the health care system – the uninsured. The ultimate success of the new law, which includes such a requirement, will depend upon assuring that those in need receive a fairly devised subsidy, and that all Massachusetts residents can take advantage of options and innovations in health care coverage that are available through a competitive marketplace. We look forward to sharing our expertise with the Governor and the legislature as the new law is implemented, particularly in the areas of health disparities and developing meaningful products focused on the large percentage of young adults (ages 19 – 26) who are currently uninsured."
In addition to creating an individual insurance requirement, the Massachusetts law takes other important steps to address key segments of the uninsured population and to promote health care quality. For example, it seeks to reduce racial and ethnic disparities as part of Medicaid Pay for Performance measures, creates a Health Disparities Council, and requires hospitals to collect and report data related to race, ethnicity and language. Addressing health disparities has long been a focus for Aetna. The company initiated a program in 2003 to collect information on race and ethnicity from members, on a voluntary basis, so they could receive targeted disease management and wellness programs. Additionally, a significant portion of the company’s charitable giving through the Aetna Foundation is focused on addressing health disparities.
Other important provisions in the law include: allowing insurers to offer high deductible health plans (HDHPs) with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs); enabling insurers to design health plans to specifically address the uninsured in the 19 – 26 age group; and implementing Pay for Performance in Medicaid based on provider quality standards and performance benchmarks.
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 27.9 million unique members 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, long-term care and disability plans, and medical management capabilities. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans and government-sponsored plans. www.aetna.com