|-- New Program Helps Consumers Achieve Their Optimal Health While Helping Employers Manage Costs Associated With Bipolar Disorder --
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Aetna (NYSE:AET) today launched an innovative disease management program to improve the care for members suffering from bipolar disorder, a disease that impacts two million adult Americans and costs U.S. employers an estimated $14.1 billion a year in lost productivity. Bipolar disorder carries a significant mortality risk, with an estimated 25 percent of people attempting suicide.
Aetna’s new program, created in conjunction with Astra Zeneca, seeks to help Aetna members who suffer from bipolar disorder achieve their optimal health by giving them information and care management support. For those who sign up for the voluntary program, care managers will provide the support necessary to increase member adherence to a physician-prescribed treatment plan. By improving medication adherence and the care members receive after a hospitalization or other event, the Bipolar Disease Management program will help decrease relapses, increase quality of life, and reduce the overall health care costs associated with bipolar disorder.
“Studies about bipolar disorder show that it is the sixth leading cause of disability ahead of other long-term conditions such as HIV, diabetes and asthma,” said Mary Fox, head of Aetna’s Behavioral Health and Pharmacy Management businesses. “Research, as well as Aetna’s own positive experience developing disease management programs for mental health conditions, spurred us to take a leadership position by developing a program that could have a significant impact on both our members and customers.”
This Bipolar Disease Management Program will become part of Aetna’s suite of disease management programs, which includes Aetna Health ConnectionsSM. Aetna’s medical management products and services help members achieve and maintain their optimal health. Through these services, Aetna takes an innovative, personalized, holistic approach to supporting member health, providing useful information to help members make smarter decisions about their health and health care.
Initially, Aetna members enrolled in a fully insured HMO plan will have access to the Bipolar management program, with plans to expand the program further in 2007. Aetna members who fit the following criteria, are eligible for voluntary enrollment in the Bipolar Disease Management program:
- At least 18 years of age or older;
- Diagnosed with bipolar disorder;
- Recently discharged or currently hospitalized for bipolar disorder.
Aetna members enrolled in the program are assigned a care manager who will partner with them to enhance disease and treatment awareness, facilitate coordination of care, and improve treatment adherence. Care managers will call members at least monthly, and may call more often depending on the level of severity of their disorder. Care managers also personally assist members with finding community-based resources that help people cope with the disorder, encourage family support for members and coordinate care between different health care providers. Program participants will receive educational mailings about bipolar disorder and treatment options. In addition, members have access to a customized website, providing 24 hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week educational information and resources for bipolar disorder.
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 29.8 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. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans and government-sponsored plans.