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View More Press Releases by Aetna

Press release:

Aetna Disability Claims Analysis Shows Connection Between Depression and Increased Disability Durations

Issued by: Aetna

Date: Apr. 25, 2006

Results From Analysis Spur Aetna Integrated Health and Disability Program to Offer Depression Resources for Members

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Aetna (NYSE:AET) today announced results from an analysis of claims data for members with short- and long-term disability plans that demonstrate a connection between depression and the amount of time a disability keeps a person out of work. The analysis looked at claims data from 2002 to 2004 for 36,747 members. The results have prompted Aetna to offer depression education resources for members filing a disability claim, as well as referrals of certain claimants to Depression and Behavioral Health programs.

"These results show a natural link among health, behavioral health and disability events," said Pat Farrell, head of Aetna Group Insurance. "Aetna is in the unique position of being able to integrate medical, disability and behavioral health to help members get back to work faster so that they can lead healthier and more productive lives."

Aetna's analysis looked at data for Aetna short-term disability claims from January 1, 2002, to June 30, 2004, and Aetna long-term disability claims from January 1, 2002, to June 30, 2003. Aetna Disability looked at a variety of diagnoses such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic fatigue, pregnancy, hypertension, back pain, morbid obesity and carpal tunnel syndrome. The analysis examined these diagnoses to determine which members also were diagnosed with depression and found that when depression is a comorbidity, the duration of the disability is longer. For example, depressed members diagnosed with IBS experienced an average of 63 percent longer disability durations than members with IBS who were not depressed. Additionally, back pain claims resulted in disability durations that were on average 25 percent longer for claimants with depression than for members with back pain who were not depressed.

This claims analysis continues Aetna's focus on developing integrated programs to address depression. In October 2005, the company introduced a new program, Aetna Depression Management. This program provides clinical tools for physicians, training for office staff, access to Aetna nurse case managers and support from Aetna's network of behavioral health specialists. This program increases reimbursement for physicians who actively screen and talk with patients to diagnose depression. This approach provides physicians with the tools to more effectively diagnose and treat depression in the primary care setting, which leads to better care for Aetna members.

Aetna's Depression Offerings

Research suggests that only half of the millions of Americans who are affected by depression each year seek help. As a result of this research and Aetna Disability's findings, Aetna now offers a variety of resources to help members with depression. Aetna disability case managers will now make disability claimants aware of an educational website, www.reawake.com. The website, developed by Aetna Behavioral Health, is a resource for people at risk for depression and their family members. The following online resources also are available to educate consumers about depression: Aetna InteliHealth, www.intelihealth.com, and Aetna's women's health website, [click here].

For members with both health and disability benefits through Aetna, a program called Integrated Health and Disability (IHD) is available. Aetna disability case managers can refer claimants with a variety of behavioral health diagnoses to behavioral health clinicians within Aetna and to the Caring for Depression disease management program. In addition, Aetna members can receive support from dedicated nurses in the Medical Psychiatric Case Management program.

Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 27.9 million unique members 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, long-term care and disability plans, and medical management capabilities. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans and government-sponsored plans.

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This is a press release issued by the company named above. BenefitsLink is not the author. Use of any information obtained from this release is voluntary, and reliance on it should only be undertaken after an independent review of its accuracy, completeness, efficacy, and timeliness. Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by BenefitsLink.

 
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