Aetna Research Identifies Four Keys To Success For Consumer-Directed Health Plans

Five-year study of 1.6 million Aetna members proves that sustained savings are possible through appropriate mix of culture change, education and benefits design

HARTFORD, Conn., January 31, 2008 — Aetna (NYSE: AET) today released the results of a five-year study of health care claims and utilization for members of its Aetna HealthFund® consumer-directed plans. The study of 1.6 million Aetna members (205,000 in an Aetna HealthFund plan) identifies the four keys to success that help employers succeed in implementing a consumer-directed benefits strategy. They are:

To identify the keys to success, Aetna conducted an in-depth review of six employers who experienced extraordinary results with their Aetna HealthFund plans. In fact, these employers achieved annualized health care cost trends that were 50 percent lower than the Aetna HealthFund average, resulting in a combined employer and employee savings of $15 million per 10,000 employees enrolled in an Aetna plan over a four-year period. Common among these employers was a benefits strategy that embraced the four keys to success.

"Aetna’s keys to consumer-directed success provide a road map for employers who want to control health care costs and engage employees in their health by offering a consumer-directed benefits strategy. We have thoroughly studied these members for five years and have developed keen insight into those aspects of the product that work and those that do not work well. This latest research simply validates what we’ve suspected all along — that while implementing these plans requires a commitment from both the employer and the employee the payoff is significant for those who embrace all the tools that influence health care consumerism," said Aetna President Mark T. Bertolini.

The six employer groups who achieved dramatic success with Aetna HealthFund represent a variety of industries including heavy manufacturing, personal health care services, and food and beverage production. Among them is Owens Corning, a Fortune 500 company and market-leading innovator of glass fiber technology. Owens Corning has offered an Aetna HealthFund Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) since 2004, and an Aetna HealthFund Health Savings Account (HSA) since 2007. More than 16,000 Owens Corning employees and their dependents are currently Aetna HealthFund members.

"Owens Corning began offering Aetna HealthFund in 2004 to help control health care costs while engaging our employees as partners in their own health. We’ve achieved both of these objectives but this is a continuous effort," said Mark Snyder, director, Employee Health, Wellness and Benefits, Owens Corning. "For Owens Corning, implementing a consumer-directed strategy reflects a long-term commitment to the health of our employees and their families. This has meant intensive employee education and communication along with benefits that encourage our employees to lead healthier lives — such as 100 percent coverage for preventive care and rewards for healthy behaviors and for completing a Health Risk Assessment." While the six case study employers achieved significant success, Aetna continued to see the positive impact of health care consumerism across all 1.6 million Aetna members studied. Specifically, employers who offered an Aetna HealthFund plan lowered their health care trend and saved money through all four years with the plan, across all Aetna products they offered. And, when compared to a control-matched preferred provider organization (PPO) population, the Aetna HealthFund members:

In addition, 52 percent of HRA members and 95 percent of HSA members carried over some or all of their fund into the next year.

"While the cost savings with an Aetna HealthFund plan can be significant, it’s important to note that savings are achieved while employees continue to use preventive and chronic care services, and increase their engagement in their own health. We think this represents a win-win for both employers and their employees," added Bertolini.

Aetna has studied claims and utilization for its Aetna HealthFund family of products since 2003. The latest study includes:

Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.4 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, government-sponsored plans and expatriates.

Copyright Aetna Inc.