Aetna First Health Plan To Link Gay And Lesbian Medical Association Provider Directory To Its Own Online Doctor Resource

Company committed to increasing openness, quality of health care

Sponsors the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association’s 26th Annual Conference, world’s largest gathering of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health professionals

HARTFORD, Conn., October 20, 2008 — Aetna (AET) and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) today announced that Aetna is the first health benefits company in the U.S. to link its online provider directory -- DocFind® -- to GLMA's growing online database of more than 1,200 health care providers. The database includes primary care providers, specialists, therapists, and dentists who welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) patients.

In addition, Aetna has awarded GLMA a $50,000 grant as the diamond sponsor of GLMA's 26th Annual Conference scheduled for October 22-25 in Seattle. The conference is remarkable for its size, scope, and diversity of programming, with presentations and workshops on HIV/AIDS; lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual health; substance abuse; aging; families and relationships; and legal issues.

"We hope to see other insurance companies follow Aetna's lead by linking to our database," said Joel Ginsberg, GLMA's executive director. "This is a valuable tool that allows LGBT individuals to find LGBT-friendly health care providers whom they can trust."

"All patients must feel comfortable speaking candidly with their health care providers so that the care delivered is appropriate and effective, and patients can take greater control of their health and well-being," said Troyen Brennan, M.D., Aetna's chief medical officer. "Aetna and the GLMA share a similar goal of eliminating disparities in health care, including unequal health care access and outcomes that critically challenge the American health care system today."

"Providing easy access to the GLMA database through a link in DocFind gives gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members one more way to locate physicians who understand their specific medical needs,"  Brennan said.

Openness between patients and their health care providers can be an issue for the LGBT community and can impact their quality of care. A study released in July by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene showed that men who disclose having sex with men to their physicians were twice as likely as those who did not to have been tested for HIV (63 percent vs. 36 percent). The study also revealed in a survey of 452 New York City men who have sex with other men that 39 percent had not disclosed their sexual orientation to their doctors.

Any provider who is willing to affirm their commitment to providing a welcoming environment for LGBT patients and clients is invited to join the GLMA Provider Directory. GLMA also has resources available for providers on how to meet the unique health care needs of LGBT individuals, which includes creating an environment where patients can feel comfortable talking openly.

"We recognize and applaud health care providers who have joined our directory. Their interest in LGBT health issues and their commitment to creating a welcoming environment for LGBT patients is commendable and is truly needed by the LGBT community," Ginsberg said.

The listings in the GLMA directory may not always include the names of health plans in which the providers participate, so users should verify whether providers listed in the GLMA database participate in their specific benefit plans. Aetna members can check physician participation through DocFind.

Also, Aetna will alert its participating health care providers of the link between the DocFind tool and GLMA's database to raise additional awareness of GLMA among providers.

Aetna has earned the top rating of 100 percent in the 2009 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), an annual survey administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.  This is the seventh consecutive year that Aetna has received a perfect score for its service to LGBT employees and consumers.

About Aetna
Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 37.2 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.

About GLMA
The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association has been working since 1981 to ensure equality in healthcare for GLBT patients and healthcare providers, through advocacy education, research and patient referrals.

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