|Free access to a library of wellness messages makes it possible for mid-size employers to easily integrate and promote preventive care to their workforce
HARTFORD, Conn., -- As medical costs continue to increase, employers are aggressively seeking new opportunities to lower their health care spending by helping their employees stay, or get well. In response, Aetna (NYSE: ΑET) has launched the Member Wellness Message Program, a series of one-topic, reader-friendly electronic communications that cover health issues ranging from childhood immunizations to hypertension and workplace ergonomics.
"We are seeing a growing interest among mid-size employers for information that helps them keep their workers healthy, reduce absenteeism and improve productivity," said Neil Waldron, head of Sales and Marketing for Aetna's Middle Market Accounts. "The program provides a simple, cost-effective way for employers to invest in the health and productivity of their workforce. Because the format is electronic, the supply is not limited as it can be with pre-printed materials, making it easy to incorporate into existing employee communication programs."
According to a recent survey conducted by Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and the ERISA Industry Committee, businesses are increasingly turning to wellness programs to get a handle on rising health care costs. A survey of 365 U.S. companies found that 62 percent have implemented wellness programs to improve employee health, while 33 percent are considering such programs. Of those with programs, 64 percent said rising health care costs were a major factor in the decision to offer a wellness program. Additionally, Aon Consulting recently issued a report that found more than four in 10 employers have implemented a disease management or wellness strategy to combat soaring health cost and encourage healthy lifestyles.
The goal of Aetna's Member Wellness Message Program is to provide mid-size employers, those with 51 to 3,000 employees, with a menu of wellness messages to help enhance employee health and well-being, raise awareness of health risks, and encourage proper preventive screening. The messages are available to all members regardless of the customer's particular medical product or funding option.
The topics currently available, which also complement health information on the Aetna InteliHealth® consumer website, include:
- Childhood and Adolescent Immunizations
- Communicating with your Doctor
- Handling Emergencies and Natural Disasters
- Healthy Travel
- Responsible Alcohol Consumption
- Safety in the Home
- Skin Protection and Care
- Stress Management
- Smoking Cessation
- Workplace Ergonomics
- Weight Management
A Spanish version of all messages and an additional 14 topics will be available later this year. The messages are accessible in three types of electronic formats -- PDF flyer, e-mail message in HTML, and text-only Word document -- to best fit with an employer's preferred method of distribution.
Aetna's newest wellness offering enhances a robust suite of programs and services, which may vary by geographic service area and by plan design, such as:
- Simple Steps To A Healthier Life® is a personalized suite of online Health Risk Assessment and Wellness Programs that emphasize preventing and reducing health risks and keeping employees performing at their best.
- Aetna Navigator(tm), which provides access to important health information.
- 24-hour Informed Health® Line telephone service provides access to registered nurses who provide members with information on more than 5,000 health-related topics.
- Aetna Wellness Counseling offers personalized one-on-one support to help members adopt and adhere to healthy lifestyle choices.
- The Reawakening Center is an online depression screening and information tool, to help employees feel comfortable about addressing feelings of depression and help them know when to seek professional help.
- Aetna Healthy Body, Healthy Weight ProgramSM is a voluntary one-year program that gives members access to Aetna registered nurses, dieticians and weight loss therapists, who can actively support members in making positive and permanent lifestyle changes to lose weight, reduce their health risks factors and improve their overall health.
- Moms-to-Babies Maternity Management Program® assists members and physicians in giving babies a healthier start with a program to help members quit smoking, access to breastfeeding support and a preterm labor education program.
- Employee Assistance Program is a work-site-based program designed to help members and their families balance the demand of work, life and personal issues. It's designed to improve productivity, reduce absenteeism, increase employee satisfaction and better manager health costs.
As one of the nation's leading providers of health care, dental, pharmacy, group life, disability and long-term care benefits, Aetna puts information and helpful resources to work for its approximately 14.435 million medical members, 12.976 million dental members, 9.117 million pharmacy members and 13.662 million group insurance members to help them make better informed decisions about their health care and protect their finances against health-related risks. Aetna provides easy access to cost-effective health care through a nationwide network of more than 684,000 health care professionals, including over 405,000 primary care and specialist doctors and 4,135 hospitals. For more information, please visit www.aetna.com.
Figures as of June 30, 2005