Global health giant, Aetna, are in the process of making several changes to group plan products and the services that can be offered by employers providing health benefits for their employees.
The first changes will involve Aetna's WorldTravelerSM plans and will affect both new and existing plans. Firstly, Aetna has done away with its medical maximum payout for prescription drugs. The insurer has also eliminated the annual medical maximum payout for those on the Premier Plus plans. Along with these lifts, for all plans with a dependent care option, dependents can now be included on the policy until they are 26 years old, rather than 18.
In order to meet the growing need for comprehensive health insurance for business travelers, Aetna developed their WorldTravelerSM plans. These plans are available to companies across the globe and offer independent, short-term international healthcare coverage for employees that travel internationally but do not qualify for expatriate health insurance.
The plans offer comprehensive supplemental insurance products that are not commonly offered with domestic or accident policies. Benefits with the WorldTravelerSM plans include direct billing with Aetna's international network of more than 70,000 hospitals, clinics and doctors that are outside the US. Additionally, the plans offer around-the-clock customer service, medical evacuation and repatriation services and on-call nurses.
"We know that dealing with health-related issues can be stressful, especially when people are far from home," said Eugene Marks, Aetna International's general manager of the Americas Region. "That's why we have enriched WorldTravelerSM. We want our customers to know they can count on us wherever in the world they might be."
Many employers will find that the WorldTravelerSM plans provide a cost-effective way for those employees that often travel internationally to have adequate health insurance coverage. Premiums are calculated on a per day basis and the number of expected travel days. These plans come without a deductible, cover pre-existing conditions and dental injuries and offer a range of options, including dependent coverage, business travel accident insurance and leisure travel healthcare benefits (when such travel is in conjunction with business travel).
Along with expanding options for companies with international business travelers, Aetna has also announced a new product that was designed to make it easier for employers to pay for their company's health benefit programs without sacrificing their cash flow.
Aetna Funding Advantage is a service which allows employers to make monthly payments that will cover all administration costs as well as stop-loss premiums and claims liability charges that may be associated with self-funded health benefits plans. This new service differs from the large lump-sum payments companies are typically required to pay to insurance companies for group plans. As companies can choose their own insurance options for employees, Aetna believes that customers will have more control over their plans, including the option to have a consumer-directed health plan.
Furthermore, companies that choose the Aetna Funding Advantage service will also be able to receive refunds for monthly payments during years when medical costs are lower than expected. Along with the aforementioned benefits, the service also allows for companies to have access to their group's aggregated claims data, which is useful when designing wellness or disease management programs.
"Aetna Funding Advantage gives employers the control they want, along with Aetna's leading wellness programs, consumer engagement tools and enhanced reporting, allowing them to better manage their health care costs" said Jill Serin, head of middle-market business for Aetna, in a statement released on April 16.
Aetna is targeting companies that have 100 to 500 employees that are enrolled in their plans for the new service, and hopes that companies will see the added benefits of the new Aetna Funding Advantage service.