Sunday, September 18, 2005

Aetna Press Release 9/2/2005

Aetna Lifts Policy Requirements To Help Members In Hurricane Katrina’s Wake Changes to network services, drug refills; toll-free number activated

HARTFORD, Conn., Sept. 2, 2005 — Aetna (NYSE: AET) has temporarily lifted some medical and pharmacy policy requirements through at least September 30, for members affected by Hurricane Katrina, including relief workers traveling to the catastrophe areas, to help ensure access to health care and medications. Aetna representatives are also standing by at a special toll-free number to assist members affected by the disaster who need help finding care or who have lost their ID cards at 1-800-443-AETNA (1-800-443-2386). “We are saddened by the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and extend our thoughts and sympathies to those affected,” said Aetna Chairman and CEO Jack Rowe, M.D. “Our focus is on helping our members get the care they need, recognizing that many are cut off from their usual physicians, hospitals and pharmacies. “Employers and individuals in the areas impacted by the hurricane can also rest assured that Aetna is continuing their coverage even if they are unable to make premium payments during this trying time.” Among the policies being temporarily modified, Aetna members from Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle (counties of Bay, Escambia, Holmes, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, and Washington) may:

Receive in-network benefits for care out of their network in any state, and seek care from providers, including dentists, other than their designated primary care physicians;
Refill prescriptions even if they are not due to be filled for 30 days and, for those who use Aetna’s mail-order pharmacy, receive replacement for any lost or damaged prescriptions; and
Receive treatment covered under their plan without medical pre-certification, referrals, or notification of hospital admissions. These measures are intended to remove barriers to accessing needed health care and to ease administrative burden for our members during this crisis. For physicians and hospitals treating victims of Hurricane Katrina, Aetna is temporarily extending claims- and appeals-filing deadlines outlined in contracts. Aetna is also working to find other tangible ways of supporting relief efforts. For example, Aetna employees across the country are rallying to support relief efforts and the company is matching dollar-for-dollar employee donations to the American Red Cross and other organizations providing Hurricane Katrina relief.

Additionally, as a member of the Eastern Regional Helicopter Association, the company is among the operators willing to make its services available for disaster relief when called upon by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 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.

UnitedHealth Group Press Release 6/1/2005

Popularity of Health Savings Accounts Continues to Grow, Golden Rule Customers Top $132 Million in Savings

Indianapolis, IN (June 1, 2005) – Just 18 months after health savings accounts (HSAs) became available by law, Golden Rule Insurance Company today said that 40 percent of its customers are choosing an HSA over more traditional health insurance plans.

Golden Rule, a UnitedHealthcare company and a leader in the individual health insurance market, also confirmed that its customers have accumulated more than $132 million in their tax-advantaged savings accounts – strong evidence that the accounts are working the way HSA proponents intended they would.

According to Golden Rule Vice President of Health Products Mike Corne, “HSAs have moved into the mainstream.
“Millions of hard-working Americans are looking for affordable health insurance coverage for themselves and their families, and we see interest rising as more consumers hear and learn about how HSA plans work,” he said.

Corne added that continuing product innovations, such as Golden Rule’s budget-friendly HSA Saver introduced in February of this year, make HSA plans attractive and accessible to an even broader range of consumers. For example, a young family of four living in Ohio or Arizona or Michigan who chooses a Golden Rule Saver HSA plan with a $5,250 annual family deductible might have a monthly base premium of well under $200.

HSAs pair a lower-cost high deductible insurance plan with a tax-favored savings account. Money saved on the reduced insurance premiums can be placed into the savings account and withdrawn tax free to pay the insurance deductible and other qualified medical expenses, including vision and dental care.

Other key features that are making HSAs popular:
Unspent HSA savings accumulate year after year and even earn interest. Golden Rule currently pays its customers 4 percent annual interest on their savings, very competitive with rates paid today on most savings accounts .

Contributions to an HSA are 100% tax deductible up to the legal limit; savings accumulate tax deferred and, if withdrawn to pay qualified medical expenses, are tax free.

Consumers own their HSA and make the decisions how and when to spend their savings dollars. HSAs are portable and go with consumers if they change jobs, move or leave the workforce.

Golden Rule pioneered the Medical Savings Account, predecessor to the HSA, 12 years ago and began offering HSAs as soon as the law allowed on January 1, 2004. Golden Rule has offered individual and family health insurance plans for 60 years and became a UnitedHealthcare company late in 2003. UnitedHealthcare also offers HSA products to employers of all sizes who also are seeking to reduce health insurance costs.

Kaiser-Permanente Press Release 12/2004

Kaiser Permanente Web site garners three platinum awards in e-healthcare leadership competitionMulti-award-winning site takes top honors in prestigious program

Oakland, CA—Kaiser Permanente today announced that the organization's web site (www.kp.org) has won top honors in the 2004 eHealthcare Leadership Awards, in the annual competition sponsored by Greystone.Net of Atlanta and the Chicago-based Forum for Healthcare Strategies.The awards, which showcase the leading providers of healthcare information and services on the Internet, are conferred in 10 different categories. Kaiser Permanente received three Platinum Awards, the highest recognition, for Best Interactive Site for a Healthcare System, Best Site Design for a Healthcare System and Best Site Design for a Consumer General Health Site, respectively. The Kaiser Permanente web site was already a four-time winner of the ehealthcare Leadership Award, including the 2003 Gold Award for Web design.The Kaiser Permanente site provides a wealth of trusted health information to both members and the general public. For members, it serves as a gateway to a host of Kaiser Permanente services, and now also offers an array of interactive programs in the areas of weight management, smoking cessation, stress reduction and nutrition. Its interface is effective and user-friendly, with an emphasis on design elements that add to, rather than distract from, its focus on healthcare tools.In that vein, the site recently won an Honorable Mention in the 2004 C. Everett Koop Award competition for its implementation of a comprehensive weight management program designed to help members manage their weight, reduce obesity and improve their overall health.

"Leading-edge healthcare organizations are continuing to put more emphasis on e-business functions," said Mark Gothberg, eHealhcare Leadership Awards chairman. Gothberg noted that among the various disciplines within healthcare, "health plans continue to set the pace for interactivity, with such capabilities as customized personal pages, risk assessments and real-time information requests.""We've spent the past several years building our website into something that really makes a difference to people's health," said Tim Kieschnick, Manager of Strategy for Kaiser Permanente's Internet Services Group. "Most people want to take charge of their own health, and our site helps people do that. We use the site to connect visitors with the information, the people, and tools they need to thrive. Our web site helps us fulfill Kaiser Permanente's mission to prevent disease, not just treat it. The whole site is designed around the needs of people who are trying to manage their total health and that of their families. We place a premium on interactivity, accessibility, and usability, in a way that pulls all the pieces together in one convenient place."The fifth annual eHealthcare Leadership Awards attracted more than 1,200 entries from a wide range of healthcare organizations, online health companies, pharmaceutical firms and business improvement/vendor sites—a record for the awards program.

Organizations were eligible to submit in any of 17 classifications to compete against others of comparable size, type and resources. Winners were selected by an independent panel of judges who had a deep understanding of both the healthcare industry and the online medium.The eHealthcare Leadership Awards recognizes the best websites of healthcare organizations, online health companies, pharmaceutical and medical equipment firms, suppliers and business improvement initiatives. The awards highlight the Internet's role in achieving an organization's business objectives and recognize the hard work that goes into creating outstanding healthcare web sites.In addition to the eHealthcare Leadership and Koop Award recognition, Kaiser Permanente took home two silver awards at the Spring 2004 World Wide Web Awards competition. From a field or more than 1,100 competitors, kaiserpermanente.org was awarded two silver certificates—Miscellaneous Consumer and All Adults 21+ years—in the Health Promotion/Disease & Injury Prevention Information class, and two silver certificates (Miscellaneous Consumer and All Adults 21+ years) in the Patient Education and Information class. The site also garnered "Best Design Consumer Portal" honors in the 2004 Medicine on the Net Awards.About Kaiser PermanenteKaiser Permanente is America's leading integrated health plan. Founded in 1945, it is a not-for-profit, group practice prepayment program with headquarters in Oakland, Calif.

Kaiser Permanente serves the health care needs of some 8.2 million members in 9 states and the District of Columbia. Today it encompasses the not-for-profit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and their subsidiaries, and the for-profit Permanente Medical Groups. Nationwide, Kaiser Permanente includes approximately 134,000 technical, administrative and clerical employees and more than 12,000 physicians representing all specialties.