"This committee includes some of the country's top LGBT corporate and nonprofit professionals. Many of the executives on the committee have worked on LGBT initiatives within their own companies as well as within the community at large to promote equality for all LGBT people," said Peter Francel, Aetna's vice president of Product Group Sales and leader of Aetna's internal LGBT initiatives group. "Their experiences and expertise will help us expand our efforts to improve quality of care and health outcomes for patients."
Aetna is developing a coordinated, multidimensional approach to address health issues that are more prevalent among the LGBT population and to conduct outreach to the LGBT community. This approach includes health plan coverage for domestic partners, preventive care, wellness programs including weight loss and smoking cessation programs, and specialized adoption information and services to its LGBT members. Aetna has also adopted LGBT-friendly workplace policies that include domestic partner benefits and nondiscrimination policies covering sexual orientation and gender identity.
LGBT populations, in addition to having the same basic health needs as the general population, often face unique challenges and may experience health disparities related to sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression. Since 2001, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have directed more than $20 million toward efforts to address racial and ethnic disparities in health care. More than $350,000 in grants and sponsorships have been awarded to nonprofits seeking to advance LGBT specific programs and initiatives.
"Aetna has been a leader in its commitment to eliminating inequalities in health care, and that dedication is why so many talented individuals are participating on this advisory committee," said Mark McLane, director, Global Diversity and Inclusion for Whirlpool. "I feel strongly that this new committee will help develop strategies for achieving equal access to health care for the entire LGBT community."
Members of the corporate/nonprofit advisory committee include:
Aetna also created a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender section on its website (www.aetna.com/glbt/index.html). As outreach efforts expand, LGBT resources on the site will also grow. In addition, Aetna is the first health benefits company in the U.S. to link its online provider directory -- DocFind® -- to the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association's growing online database of more than 1,200 health care providers. Aetna also supports its own LGBT employees through Aetna's Network of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Employees (Angle) with active chapters throughout the U.S. including in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Texas, California and Illinois. In addition to its community outreach, Aetna also conducts LGBT-specific training for its employees and managers with a special emphasis for those who work directly with Aetna customers.
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. 2008 was the seventh consecutive year that Aetna has received a perfect score for its service to LGBT employees and consumers.
According to the gay-targeted publication MetroSource Magazine, "Aetna's made it a point to improve its LGBT members' access to health care and to an improved quality of care in addition to helping their members find LGBT knowledgeable providers."
Aetna is one of the leading diversified health care benefits companies in the United States, 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 and government-sponsored plans in the U.S. and internationally. www.aetna.com
About the Aetna Foundation
The Aetna Foundation is the independent charitable arm of Aetna Inc. Founded in 1972, the Foundation helps build healthy communities by promoting volunteerism, forming partnerships and funding initiatives that improve the quality of life where our employees and customers live and work. Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed over $334 million in grants, sponsorships and social investments.