–20 Percent of Working Population with at Least One Chronic Condition Still
Skipping the Dentist Every Year–
HARTFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aetna (NYSE: AET) has been aggressive in supporting not only the clinical connections between oral and systemic health but also member awareness, education and outreach in order to motivate members with chronic conditions to seek appropriate dental care. Last year Aetna’s Dental/Medical IntegrationSM (DMI) program became a standard offering at no additional cost for plan sponsors with both dental and medical benefits with Aetna. In 2008, nearly 67,000 medically at-risk members sought dental care after being enrolled in Aetna’s Dental Medical Integration program. At-risk members are identified as those with diabetes, heart disease and pregnant women who have not seen a dentist in 12 months or more.
“The association between oral health and systemic health is consistently demonstrated in clinical studies, and the findings are positively impacting the treatment and management of patients,” said Mary Lee Conicella, DMD, national director of clinical operations for Aetna Dental. “Yet, at least 20 percent of an at-risk population is not getting regular preventive dental treatment. This number rises to 35 percent in older populations.”
Aetna Dental launched its DMI program in 2006 following a published research analysis it conducted with Columbia University College of Dental Medicine which found that high-risk individuals that sought earlier dental care lowered the risk or severity of their condition and subsequently, lowered their overall medical costs. 1 A 2008 internal analysis performed by Aetna proved that these results have been sustained.
“It is the right combination of automation and education that enabled us to impact such a significant number of members,” said Alan Hirschberg, head of Aetna Dental. “Aetna’s technology makes it possible for us to automatically identify members by condition, gender and age. With that information we can make our educational outreach relevant and meaningful. We know the program will only work if our members take advantage of it.”
Aetna’s DMI program is offered at no additional charge to all plan sponsors with an existing Aetna medical plan in conjunction with any of Aetna’s dental plans (DMO, DPPO, or Dental Indemnity). Aetna has also incorporated educational content into existing disease management programs for chronic conditions.
* Based on 2008 DMI dental PPO and DMO activity. At-risk is defined as members with heart disease, diabetes and pregnancy who have not recently seen a dentist.
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 37.2 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com and Aetna’s Annual Report at www.aetna.com/2008annualreport.
1 An Examination of Periodontal Treatment and Per Member Per Month (PMPM) Medical Costs in an Insured Population, BMC Health Services Research, August 16, 2006.
Sara Capozzi, 1-860-273-8669