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Managing employee health and productivity

As an employer, you're looking for ways to work smarter. Keeping your employees healthy is an important way to achieve that.


There are significant business costs related to both absenteeism – the time employees take off from work due to illness – as well as presenteeism – when employees come to work even though they’re not able to function to the best of their ability.

  • The largest employers in the U.S. estimate that unscheduled absenteeism costs their businesses more than $760,000 per year in direct payroll costs. That number increases when lower productivity, lost revenue and the effects of poor morale are considered.1 
  • Estimates for current losses due to presenteeism range from about $150 to $250 billion annually.2
  • Costs for presenteeism are about 60 percent of the total cost of worker illness.2
  • In one study, 38 percent of employers reported that presenteeism is a problem in their organizations. And 87 percent of those employers report that sick employees come to work with short-term illnesses that can be easily spread, such as colds and flu.1 
  • Nationwide, chronic diseases cost more than $1 trillion in lost productivity.3
  • Average unscheduled absenteeism rate: 2.3 percent of workforce at a cost of $660 per employee per year.4

Defining Health and Productivity Management


An increasing number of employers are addressing absenteeism and presenteeism through Health and Productivity Management (H&PM). The Institute of Health and Productivity Management (IHPM) defines H&PM as:


The integrated management of health and injury risks, chronic illness, and disability to reduce employees’ total health-related costs, including direct medical expenditures, unnecessary absence from work and lost performance at work (i.e., presenteeism).


H&PM differs from other health promotion programs because it provides an integrated approach that addresses the entire spectrum of employee health needs:

  • Disease management
  • Disease prevention
  • Wellness and health promotion
  • Health assessment
  • Disability management
  • Absence management

In order to understand H&PM, it’s necessary to embrace the concept of employees as “human capital.” In addition to finding ways to reduce medical costs, today’s employers need to support and improve their human capital in order to have a positive impact on their bottom line. An added benefit of investing in human capital is the health and well-being of employees, as well as providing them with a more positive member experience.


Investing in human capital actually provides greater cost-saving opportunities than trying to reduce medical costs alone. By taking steps to improve overall health and productivity, employers begin to reduce medical costs and absences while improving productivity and enhancing the quality of medical goods and services for employees.


At the heart of the H&PM process is measurement of workplace health costs, accurate evaluation of the factors that are driving those costs, and the creation of health enhancement programs and strategies for workers.5 


Some of the specific traits that make H&PM different are:

  • Prevention This is essential to H&PM, which includes three levels of prevention strategies:
    • Primary to help people stay healthy and productive (precaution).
    • Secondary to identify and address problems at an early stage (early detection).
    • Tertiary to limit the destructive and disruptive impact of serious medical conditions on daily life and work, protect or restore productive lifestyles, and reduce future costs (impact reduction).6 
  • Integration — H&PM programs need to be both linked and compatible with one another. Engaging employees in their own health and wellness is easier and increases chances of success when products and services are integrated.
  • Health The primary premise of H&PM is that a healthy work force results in happier, healthier employees and improved productivity.
  • Economically focused The focus of an H&PM program is in both the company’s and employees’ economic interests. If the cost savings realized from the implementation of an H&PM program is passed on to the employees, they’ll have more of a stake in maintaining the program’s existence.

How H&PM can help you


H&PM promotes better individual health. It’s a win-win, benefiting both the employee and the employer.5 According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, companies that have implemented wellness programs have reported a 26-percent drop in health care costs.7


Prevention is an important aspect of H&PM. And many research studies have demonstrated – and continue to demonstrate – the connection between certain preventive practices, improved health and functional status, and lowered total costs.6


Aetna’s approach to H&PM


At Aetna, we take a holistic view of health and wellness. We offer a variety of integrated products and programs that encompass the full spectrum of member health – from preventive care to promoting healthier lifestyles to disease and absence management. Most experts agree that integration is vital to overall health and productivity management. Aetna’s health and productivity solutions can directly address issues of health, wellness, absenteeism and presenteeism.


Aetna OneSM – A healthier, holistic health care benefits experience


Aetna One is the new name of Aetna's suite of integrated health and productivity solutions that includes Integrated Health and Disability (IHD), Aetna Integrated Health Solution® (IHS) and Aetna One Premier. Aetna One builds on our ability to integrate across product lines and provides a seamless delivery of products, programs and services. Aetna One helps improve member health and productivity and lowers benefits trend over time.


Aetna One comprises three levels of integrated benefits to meet your needs:


Aetna One Core/IHD – also known as Aetna Integrated Health and Disability (IHD), is available to plan sponsors of all sizes, all funding arrangements and with all medical products. Aetna One Core/IHD is a concrete and compelling example of Aetna's strengths: innovation, information and integration.


Aetna One Core/IHD is a business process fundamentally about making the right connections early enough and at the right time to create a better outcome for our members, plan sponsors and providers. By linking medical and disability case management, and using our rich data management tools, we are helping the overall health of our members while potentially reducing medical costs for both members and employers.


A key distinction between our approach and everyone else’s is that we combine predictive modeling, patient information, early intervention, condition management and care coordination with our rehabilitation and return-to-work expertise. With this holistic approach, we help claimants understand the process, facilitate their recovery, and help them return to work as quickly as possible – getting them back on firm financial footing while having a positive impact on productivity – to everyone's advantage.


Aetna One Enhanced/IHS – also known as Aetna Integrated Health Solution, IHS is available to plan sponsors with 125 or more employees. IHS builds on the strengths of IHD. It’s an innovative program that integrates health services and data across multiple benefits and wellness programs to help improve employee productivity and reduce health care and disability costs.


Our Aetna One Enhanced/IHS program takes a holistic approach that identifies health risks earlier, increases engagement and drives positive behavior change. It provides a complete picture of the true drivers of direct and indirect health care costs, including presenteeism, absenteeism and workforce productivity.


Aetna One Premier – The next generation in Aetna’s suite of integrated health and productivity solutions sets a new standard for customer service, clinical support and integration. Aetna One Premier expands upon the health and productivity elements of Aetna One Core/IHD and Aetna One Enhanced/IHS. Aetna One Premier is available to self-funded customers. It demonstrates Aetna’s ability to lead the industry in offering creative solutions to manage the cost of health care through better integration, greater simplicity and high-touch customer service. It uses advanced technology, smarter clinical programs and stronger clinical teams to provide simplified personal service, a complete member view, increased member engagement and better health connections.


For more information about any of Aetna’s innovative health and productivity solutions, please contact your broker or Aetna representative.


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National News
Second Quarter 2009

1. CCH survey finds most employees call in “sick” for reasons other than illness. CCH. October 10, 2007. Available at: Accessed April 13, 2009.
2. Schaefer P. The hidden costs of presenteeism: causes and solutions. Business know-how. 2007. Available at: Accessed April 13, 2009.
3. DeVol R, Bedroussian A. An unhealthy America: The economic burden of chronic disease. The Milken Institute. Oct 2007.
4. 2005 CCH Unscheduled Absence Survey.
5. What is HPM? American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Available at: Accessed April 13, 2009.
6. Special Committee on Health, Productivity and Disability Management. Healthy workforce/healthy economy: the role of health, productivity, and disability management in addressing the nation’s health care crisis. November 19, 2008. Available at: Accessed April 13, 2009.
7. Ceridian, Health and Wellness, Executive Briefings, 2008.

This material is for informational purposes only. It contains only a partial, general description of plan or program benefits. Plans and programs may not be available in all service areas.

Aetna is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Aetna group of subsidiary companies. Those companies include: Aetna Health Inc., Aetna Health of California Inc., Aetna Health of the Carolinas Inc., Aetna Health of Illinois Inc., Aetna Health Insurance Company of New York, Aetna Health Insurance Company and/or Aetna Life Insurance Company (Aetna). In MD, by Aetna Health Inc., 151 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT 06156.

Material in Aetna Customer Link does not constitute a contract or legal advice.


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