Monday, December 19, 2005

Aetna Press Release 10/17/2005

Aetna Earns "Distinction" For Efforts To Simplify And Improve The Health Care Experience For Consumers Next generation of NCQA quality standards measures health plan tools to help members make informed decisions about their health care
HARTFORD, Conn., October 17, 2005 — The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) today announced that 21 Aetna (NYSE: ΑET) health plans are the first to earn Distinction in Member Connections. The new, voluntary Member Connections standards assess health plan efforts to provide information and useful resources to help members make better-informed decisions about their health care.
In January, Aetna became the first national health plan to volunteer all 21 of its commercially accredited health plans for review against the new standards, which are the first segment of NCQA’s new Quality Plus standards.
"Being the first to earn the award of ’Distinction in Member Connections’ demonstrates Aetna’s leadership and commitment to leveraging our technology and our information resources to help our members make informed decisions about their health care and to provide them with a best-in-class service experience," said Charles M. Cutler, M.D., M.S., Aetna’s chief medical officer. "Customers are demanding that we simplify and improve the health care experience for consumers, and Aetna is delivering comprehensive tools and services to meet that goal. We are proud that our strong performance has been recognized and validated through this independent, external assessment."
The Member Connections standards allow NCQA to recognize innovative, market-leading health plans in areas such as:
leveraging the Web to help members with chronic conditions manage their care and improve outcomes,
allowing members to track claims online,
offering innovative health management programs and access to high-quality health care,
providing tools for members to assess and maintain their health, such as health risk appraisals.
"Technology today makes it possible for plans to connect with members and keep them involved in their care," said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. "There’s real value to keeping patients informed and involved -- engaged patients have better outcomes. Aetna is to be commended for making a real investment in this area and for meeting our new Member Connections standards."
Visitors to NCQA’s Web site (www.ncqa.org) can drill down from the Health Plan Report Card to view detailed information about each plan that has met the Member Connections standards in six areas: Health Risk Appraisals, Health Tools, Claims Processing, Pharmacy Benefits, Personalized Services, and Innovative Member Services. Available information in each area includes results of member surveys, scores on selected HEDIS measures, and complete descriptions of the requirements plans must meet in each area.
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)