|-- Health care transparency expands to new locations, helps a total of 3.5 million Aetna members make well-informed health care decisions --
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Aetna (NYSE:AET) today announced that a total of 3.5 million Aetna members will soon have access to detailed information to help them make health care decisions based on the actual cost, clinical quality and efficiency of their physicians’ care. Beginning in April, Aetna will provide online access to physician-specific cost, clinical quality and efficiency information in six new locations including Maine; Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Ga.; Richmond, Va.; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla. In addition, physician-specific price information will be offered in Utah.
With the addition of these new markets, clinical quality and efficiency information will be available for more than 22,000 specialist physicians; specific pricing will be available for more than 100,000 physicians; and more than 22 percent of Aetna’s medical membership will have access to price information about their local physicians.
“Aetna’s launch of physician-specific price transparency in August 2005 was the beginning of a new era in the health care marketplace. Today, health care transparency has emerged as one of the hottest topics in our industry, a key focus of the federal government, and the price of admission for insurers that do business with America’s largest employers,” said Aetna Chairman, CEO and President Ronald A. Williams. “We are proud to continue to expand our efforts to pioneer quality and price transparency in the health benefits industry.”
Aetna was the first insurer to launch physician-specific price transparency in August of 2005, providing consumers with the ability to research physician-specific pricing before receiving a service at the doctor’s office. The company expanded the program in August of 2006 to include new markets, add price information for additional procedures, and fully integrate price, clinical quality and efficiency information. Aetna is still the only insurer to offer this level of detail to its members.
In April, Aetna’s transparency programs will be available in all or parts of Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
As the company expands the program, it continues to solicit feedback from the physician and employer communities. Aetna conducted research during 2006 with physicians in Ohio, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Maryland and Florida, and continues to incorporate constituent feedback as the program expands. Aetna expects to continue expanding and enhancing the program over time and ultimately will provide the information nationwide.
The physician-specific clinical quality and efficiency information is taken from Aetna’s Aexcel® network option. Aexcel was launched in 2003 to help mitigate increases in medical costs and provide consumers with access to independent, objective information to aid them in selecting specialists. Aexcel-designated specialists undergo an evaluation process that reviews their delivery of care based on measures of efficiency and clinical performance, including prevalence of complications and repeat procedures.
Aetna members can access Aetna’s transparency resources by logging on to Aetna Navigator (www.aetna.com), Aetna’s password-protected member website, searching for their physician using “DocFind,” and choosing “Provider Detail.” Members who view rates will see the actual rates specific to their health plan for office visits, diagnostic tests, minor procedures, major procedures and other services. Rates are provided for up to 30 of the most widely accessed services by specialty. Members interested in clinical quality and efficiency will see whether their specialist has met the Aexcel measures for clinical performance, efficiency and volume of Aetna members treated.
In addition to its long-term focus on health care transparency for its own members, Aetna supports federal government efforts to encourage transparency throughout the health care marketplace in America. Aetna was the first health insurer and one of the first employers in the country to sign the statement in support of the “Four Cornerstones of Value-Driven Health Care,” released by the Department of Health and Human Services in November 2006. The “Four Cornerstones” are an important step in implementing the Executive Order on health care transparency signed by President Bush in August 2006. By signing the statement of support Aetna agreed to purchase health care for its 30,000 employees based on the overall value, quality and efficiency of care.
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 35.9 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, 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.