Thursday, December 29, 2005

Kaiser Family Foundation Press Release 06/07/2005

More Than One in Four Non-elderly Women Delay or Forgo Medical Care Due to Costs
Large Percentages of Women Say Their Doctors Haven’t Talked About Diet, Exercise, Smoking, STDs, or HIV
Washington, D.C. – A new national survey of women on their health finds that a substantial percentage of women cannot afford to go to the doctor or get prescriptions filled. Although a majority of women are in good health and satisfied with their health care, many have health problems and do not get adequate levels of preventive care. For those who are sick, poor, or uninsured, the challenges are magnified. The Kaiser Family Foundation report, Women and Health Care: A National Profile, is based on a national survey of 2,766 women age 18 and older.
As health care costs grow, more than one-quarter of non-elderly women (27%) and two-thirds of uninsured women (67%) report they delayed or went without care they believed they needed in the past year because they could not afford it, compared to 24% and 59% respectively in 2001. Among women with private coverage, nearly one in five (17%) delayed or went without care. In addition, 20% of women ages 18 and older say they did not fill a prescription in the past year because of the cost.
“The growth in health care costs has become a central women’s health issue,” said Alina Salganicoff, Vice President and Director of Women’s Health Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “A sizable share of women are falling through the cracks, either because they don’t have insurance or even with insurance can’t afford to pay for medical care or prescription drugs.”
Fewer than half of all women say they have talked to a health care professional in the past three years about smoking (33%), alcohol use (20%), and calcium intake (43%), while just over half have talked about diet, exercise, and nutrition (55%). Among women of reproductive age (18-44), fewer than one in three (31%) say that they have talked with their doctor about their sexual history and specific issues, such as STDs (28%) and HIV/AIDS (31%) in the past three years.
Mammography rates reported by women ages 40 to 64 have not improved, falling slightly from 73% in 2001 to 69% in 2004. Only 40% of uninsured women over 40 had a mammogram in the past year, compared to three-quarters of women with private coverage (74%) or Medicare (73%). Pap testing rates reported among women ages 18 to 64 also fell from 81% in 2001 to 76%. Only 38% of women 50 and older say they have had a colon cancer screening test in the past two years and 37% of women 45 and older say they received a test for osteoporosis in the past two years.
Additional key findings:
Prescription Drug Costs
Women (56%) are more likely than men (42%) to use a prescription medicine on a regular basis, and are also more likely to report difficulties affording their medications.
41% of uninsured women say they did not fill a prescription due to costs, as do one in six women (17%) with private coverage and nearly one in five women with Medicaid (19%).
One in seven (14%) women also report that they skipped or took smaller doses of their medicines in the past year to make them last longer.
Chronic Health Conditions and Mental Health
Nearly four in 10 women (38%), have a chronic condition, such as diabetes, asthma or hypertension that requires ongoing medical attention, compared to 30% of men.
One in four women (23%) reported they have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety, over twice the rate for men (11%).
Access and Quality of Care Among Women in Fair or Poor Health
Over one-third (37%) of women in fair or poor health say that they delayed or went without medical care in the past year due to costs, and one-third (34%) did not fill a prescription because they couldn’t afford it.
Nearly one-third (31%) of women in fair/poor health report concerns about the quality of care they received in the past year, compared to 18% of women in better health.
Women as Caregivers and Family Decision Makers
One in 10 women (12%) care for a sick or aging relative. Among this group, forty percent are low-income, 46% have a chronic health condition of their own, and 29% provide more than 40 hours of care per week. One in five (20%) non-elderly caregivers are uninsured.
Eight in 10 mothers/guardians say they have lead responsibility for choosing their children’s doctors (79%), taking them to appointments (84%), and ensuring they receive follow-up care (78%).
The report will be released at a briefing today in Washington, D.C. that includes a panel discussion among Alina Salganicoff, Ph.D. Vice President and Director of Women’s Health Policy at Kaiser and report co-author; Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, Director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; Paula A. Johnson, MD, MPH, Executive Director, Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and, Susan Starr Sered, PhD, Co-author of Uninsured in America, Life and Death in the Land of Opportunity and Research Director, Religion and Health Initiative, Suffolk University, Boston, MA.
The Kaiser Women’s Health Survey is a nationally representative telephone survey of 2,766 women ages 18 and older. The survey was designed and analyzed by Kaiser Foundation staff in collaboration with Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) and researchers from University of California, Los Angeles and fielded between July 6 and September 26, 2004. A shorter companion survey of 507 men was also conducted. The margin of sampling error is +/-2 percentage points for women, +/-4 percentage points for men, and is larger for subgroups.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Aetna of Florida Press Release 11/22/2005

Aetna Introduces New Health Insurance Options for Individuals And Their Families In Florida Health plan options compatible with health savings accounts available
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., November 22, 2005 — Aetna (NYSE: ΑET) will launch health plans for individuals and their families in Florida, effective December 15, as announced earlier today at the Florida Governor’s Cabinet Meeting. The plans are designed to provide affordable, comprehensive health coverage options for individuals and their families. In addition, Aetna is offering a voluntary dental benefit with these new plans.
"Aetna is committed to addressing the health insurance needs of the growing uninsured and under-insured population," said Laurie Brubaker, Aetna’s national general manager for Individual Markets. "In Florida, there are more than 3.2 million people – or 19 percent of the population – who are uninsured."1
"We also are dedicated to meeting the health benefits needs of individuals who directly purchase health care for themselves and their family members," Brubaker added. "Our plans are designed to address unique needs during particular stages in life such as graduating from college, getting married, raising a family, becoming a sole proprietor, being between jobs or retiring early."
"We are pleased that Aetna has taken the initiative to offer plans for individuals and their families in Florida," said Kevin M. McCarty, commissioner, Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. "Aetna has a strong national brand and a growing presence in this state. The addition of these plans will provide Florida residents greater choice and flexibility in finding health care plans that appropriately address their needs."
New Plans Offer Broad ChoicesAetna is offering individuals and their families several standard plans, effective December 15. All of the plans offer members the freedom to go directly to any doctor, hospital or health care professional — including specialists — for covered services. If a member chooses a health care professional from Aetna’s extensive network of participating physicians and hospitals, out-of-pocket costs will be lower.
All Florida plans also feature coverage for routine checkups and preventive care, specialty care, hospitalization and surgery, diagnostic testing and emergency care, subject to applicable copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. In addition, there are no in-network claim forms, and no referrals are required for members to see specialists. Some of the plans also include prescription drug coverage, subject to a deductible, copayments and calendar-year maximum.
Value Plans, HSA-Compatible Plans and Dental Plan AvailableFor those people who wish to purchase more affordable plans, there are "Value" plans which offer members similar benefits to the standard plans but have lower premium payments. In exchange for lower premiums, members must reach their annual deductible payments for doctor’s office visits to be covered.
Aetna is also offering High-Deductible plans that are compatible with the Aetna HealthFund® Health Savings Account (HSA). The plans offer members lower premiums in exchange for higher annual deductibles. Members can take advantage of a flexible health benefits plan paired with an HSA. HSAs are tax-advantaged accounts used to pay for qualified medical expenses. HSA contributions are tax deductible and earn interest tax free. HSAs are portable, and unused balances can be carried forward from year to year, making them a strong value for consumers.
Members have the option to enroll in the Florida Dental PPO Max Plan at the time of their medical election. The Dental PPO Max Plan allows members to receive quality dental care from participating dentists and nonparticipating dentists. Participating dentists have agreed to provide certain services at a negotiated rate, which means members generally pay lower out-of-pocket costs.
"We are very excited that Aetna will now be offering health insurance plans for individuals and their families in Florida," said Wes Fischer, president of The Health Insurance Store, a Kissimmee-based independent agency specializing in health insurance and employee benefits programs. "We value, as do our clients, health insurance companies that offer multiple product lines, such as group plans, Medicare plans and plans for individuals and their families. A majority of our clients are familiar with Aetna, and we believe there will be strong consumer interest in these new individual plan options."
Additional Services IncludedIn addition to plan benefits, through the Vision One®2 discount program, Fitness Program and Alternative Health Care Programs, members may access discounted rates from certain providers for products and services available to the general public. The Vision One program offers special member discounts on eye care products and services at participating optical centers. The Fitness Program provides special membership rates at participating fitness clubs contracted with Global Fit3 and discounts on certain equipment. The Alternative Health Care Programs offer reduced rates on alternative therapies for members, including visits to chiropractors, acupuncturists, nutritional counselors and massage therapists. Members can also save on over-the-counter vitamins and nutritional supplements through the Vitamin Advantage™ program.