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Press release from Business Wire

New Program Helps Aetna Members Make Informed Decisions When Considering Surgery

Thursday, June 07, 2012

New Program Helps Aetna Members Make Informed Decisions When Considering Surgery09:49 EDT Thursday, June 07, 2012 HARTFORD, Conn. (Business Wire) -- Surgery often is the most extreme approach to care for most health conditions, and in many cases, alternative options for care are available. Aetna (NYSE: AET) recently made the Welvie Surgery Decision Support Program available to help Aetna members who are considering surgery work with their health care providers to make the best choices for their unique situations. The online program – which includes easy-to-understand video content – guides members through six steps. The first three steps focus on helping members work with their doctors to determine an accurate diagnosis and understand all of the potential treatment options, including surgery. If surgery is the determined course of treatment, the last three steps help members prepare for the procedure and recovery. “We are consistently looking for ways to help our members become more informed and allow them to take control of their own health care,” said Paul Marchetti, head of Aetna's National Care Management. “The Welvie decision support program can help members work in concert with their health care provider to make the right decision when surgery is one of the options for care.” Aetna members can access Welvie through Aetna Navigator®, a secure member website. The decision support program provides information related to nearly 60 medical procedures, including lower back surgery, C-section delivery and tonsillectomy. “Surgery should never be taken lightly,” said Welvie Executive Chairman Chip Tooke. “We designed our program to show people that they can take an active part in the surgery process. And when they do, they can help improve the outcome.” Positive Feedback from Employers and Members The Welvie program is available to all Aetna members. Plan sponsors can also select a premium version that includes increased communications to members about the program, as well as reporting on usage among an employee population. Beginning in April 2011, Aetna conducted a pilot study featuring the premium Welvie program with five large national employers who collectively cover approximately 800,000 Aetna members. “As a company that relies on a physically active group of employees, we want to offer programs that can help our employees maintain their health and well-being,” said Randy Moon, Vice President, Benefits and Human Resources Information Services at Lowe's, which participated in the pilot program. “The Welvie program is a resource for entire families, whether we have employees looking for more information about their own health options or those of a parent, spouse or child. Our employees who used the Welvie program were very satisfied with how easy it was to use and how helpful it was as they were evaluating their health care options, including surgery.” Member satisfaction rates among individuals who used the Welvie tool were also extremely high: 96 percent were satisfied with how Welvie prepared them for surgery 95 percent are likely to take the steps necessary to prepare for surgery as a result of the Welvie program 92 percent are likely to recommend the Welvie program to family and friends 93 percent feel that Welvie helped prepare them to speak with their health care provider about surgical options About Welvie Welvie is a pioneering surgery decision support company. Its shared decision-making program helps consumers make fully informed decisions about surgery, while helping employers and health plans ensure patients receive the best outcome, whether they choose surgery or not. About Aetna Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.1 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services and health information technology services. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com. AetnaEthan Slavin, 860-273-6095slavine@aetna.com