Speaking at Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit, Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark T. Bertolini talked about the current state of the health care system in the U.S. and how people need to be treated outside of the hospital.
“We shouldn’t wait until people are broken; we should be engaging with them as closely as we can to their home,” Bertolini said. “We’ve got to get from the exam table to the kitchen table. At the kitchen table, you learn about the real existence of an individual and how it impacts their life.”
Bertolini, who was interviewed by Julia La Roche, a reporter for Yahoo Finance, added that 10 percent of a person’s life expectancy is affected by clinical care. Sixty percent of a person’s life expectancy is impacted by social determinants of health.
When talking about the role of technology in health care, Bertolini said he didn’t view it as a disruptor in the industry, but rather a tool to help the company reach out to members to make it easier for them to manage their health.
Equally important as helping members with their health is taking care of Aetna’s associates. Bertolini talked about reinventing the capitalist model and described the company’s “Social Compact,” which launched in 2015. In January 2015, Aetna raised the minimum wage for U.S. associates to $16 an hour and created an enhanced benefits program that helped lower out-of-pocket health care expenses for eligible associates. In August 2016, the company announced a student loan repayment program. With the program, Aetna would match loan payment contributions up to $2,000 a year with a lifetime maximum of up to $10,000 for full-time U.S. associates who graduated on or after Dec. 1, 2013. For part-time associates, Aetna matches contributions up to $1,000 a year, with a lifetime maximum of $5,000.
“What we want to do for employees is make sure they find our place a vibrant place to work and where they can find opportunities,” Bertolini said.