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In Good Company

Aetna’s work to eliminate health disparities

Sep 23 2016

As a leader in the field of health equity, Aetna has been working toward achieving racial and ethnic equity in health care for 15 years.

Aetna was one of the first insurers to voluntarily collect racial and ethnic data from members to develop initiatives designed to eliminate disparities in health care. As of 2015, more than 30 percent of active Aetna members have volunteered their race and ethnicity information.

With a “better picture” of what diseases and chronic conditions various populations are facing, Aetna has launched a number of initiatives addressing breast health, diabetes, premature births, hypertension and depression, to name a few, in underserved communities.

Additionally, the Aetna Foundation has been working to find solutions to racial and ethnic disparities in health care to help make quality health care accessible to everyone. For example, funding from the Foundation has supported a wide range of research and programs that address the high rate of infant mortality among African-American women and make healthier food choices possible in underserved communities. And in 2014, the Aetna Foundation announced more than $1.2 million in grants to support the use of digital health technology among vulnerable and minority populations.

Our search for effective ways to improve the health of underserved communities is far from over. We will continue to look for more effective ways to engage people in their health, such as through the Aetna Foundation’s ongoing Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge. The Challenge will award $1.5 million in prizes to cities, counties, and federally recognized tribes that show measurable improvements in health indicators and social determinants of health.