Archived Content

Driving Innovation In the Health Care Marketplace:

A CEO Report


Serving more than 45 million members nationwide, Aetna is empowering individuals and employers to adopt healthier lifestyles through awareness, activity and technology. Aetna innovations are leading the way in combatting metabolic syndrome, reducing stress and empowering consumers to engage in their own care.

Combatting Metabolic Syndrome

Recognizing that metabolic syndrome is increasingly becoming a common health problem, Aetna developed a mindfulness-based wellness program to help combat risk factors such as large waist size, high triglycerides, low high-density lipoprotein (“good”) cholesterol and high blood sugar.

  • Metabolic Health in Small Bytes gives employees real-time access to an instructor to help reduce or reverse metabolic syndrome risk factors.

Participants in the program showed statistically significant improvements in the five risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome, a 67 percent decrease in lost productivity, an increase in physical activity and overall stress reduction.

Reducing Stress

Understanding that stress leads to complex, high-cost health conditions (i.e., depression, obesity and cancer) and decreased workplace productivity, Aetna launched two programs helping employees reduce stress in the workplace.

  • Mindfulness At WorkTM helps employees manage their workplace stress by teaching coping techniques through on online virtual classroom.
  • Viniyoga Stress Reduction targets stress through both physical and mental exercises at home and in the office.
  • Employees are experiencing a 33–36 percent reduction in perceived stress levels and 62 additional minutes of productivity each week.

Empowering Consumers

Understanding that electronic consumer tools can effectively improve employee engagement in their health and reduce health care costs, Aetna launched a series of interactive tools to engage employees.

  • iTriage® enables users to check their symptoms, learn about possible causes, research medications, locate and compare nearby care options, choose a doctor, and make an appointment. This free app has been downloaded more than 10 million times.
  • The Member Payment Estimator improves transparency for members by giving them a more complete, personalized picture of the costs involved with their health care. It provides real-time, out-of-pocket cost estimates based on a member’s personal benefits plan.

iTriage® users go to the emergency department for care 40 percent less and have become active partners in their own health care by searching for symptoms, medications, conditions and procedures using interactive tools. Our research has also shown that after members use Member Payment Estimator to obtain cost estimates on one of more than 30 commonly selected health care services, they chose the provider whose out-of-pocket cost estimate was on average $170 lower than the average of the estimates they received.

Together, employers and health plans can introduce complements to conventional medicine that improve employee health and increase workplace productivity. While employees must ultimately commit to their own health, innovative tools and effective communication can help add transparency to health care decisionmaking and engage employees in healthier lifestyles.


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BRT companies provide health coverage to more than 40 million Americans. We help American workers and their families remain healthy, receive quality treatment when necessary and achieve better health outcomes. The private-sector innovations in the insurance marketplace that enable us to provide these services to our employees and their families serve as models for public programs — but additional reforms are necessary.

This report highlights the innovations we have made and the public policy changes we believe would drive value by promoting health and improving outcomes.