CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aetna (NYSE: AET) is introducing a health insurance plan with the goal of helping small businesses in under-served communities offer health insurance to their employees for the first time ever.
Called the Aetna Illinois Community PlanSM, it is designed for Chicago-area small businesses with 2 to 50 eligible employees and is approximately 25 percent less expensive than other Aetna small group insurance plans with similar benefits.
Aetna’s Illinois Community Plan is available through insurance brokers to members and member affiliates of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which is open to anyone.
“We’re very excited about this affiliation,” said Omar Duque, President and CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “We’re hopeful this plan will allow businesses to offer their employees and their families health insurance who have never been able to afford it before.”
“This plan was designed in direct response to the needs raised by the local business community. They told us they needed a health plan that was affordable for the business and their employees, close to home, easy to understand and with robust benefits,” said Marty Castro, vice president of external affairs for diverse market strategies at Aetna’s Chicago office. “So, we designed this plan to make sure it includes hospitals and health care providers in the neighborhoods where people live. There are more than 40 hospitals, 2,400 primary care physicians, 740 Ob/Gyns, 5,600 specialists and 2,000 behavioral health providers participating in this plan. Hospitals and physicians are located in Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane, Kankakee and Will counties.”
Aetna’s Illinois Community Plan is a tiered plan, meaning there are three tiers of health care providers. If people use the health care providers in the first tier, known as the “Tier 1 community network,” generally they have the least out-of-pocket expense.
The plan focuses on prevention. When using the “community network,” co-pays and deductibles are waived for well-baby exams, child exams, immunizations, adult physical exams, routine mammograms, eye exams and routine gynecological exams. In addition, the plan covers use of “walk-in” clinics that belong to the network.
“There are insurance plans in the marketplace that advertise they’re ‘low-cost,’ but once you check into it, you find they have substantial out-of-pocket costs and don’t cover many things. Aetna’s Illinois Community Plan is one with limited out-of-pocket expense that covers a full spectrum of health care services – doctor’s visits; hospitalizations; lab and x-ray services; outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy; chiropractic services; outpatient surgery; emergency room and urgent care; and generic prescription drugs,” said Aetna’s Castro. In addition, those with Aetna insurance have access to a wide array of health information and wellness resources on the Aetna web site.
The plan includes hospitals and physicians located in Chicagoland’s Hispanic communities, where many speak Spanish. The Spanish-language website for the new plan (www.aetnaILCommunityPlan.com) will go live in late January and includes a DocFind link to search the physician database. In addition, Aetna offers a Spanish version of its website (www.aetna.com/espanol/) and partners with the Financial Planning Association on a Spanish language informational website about health insurance (www.planifiqueparasusalud.com). A DocFind® site for the Illinois Community Plan is currently available in English: http://www.aetna.com/docfind/custom/ilcommunitynetwork/
“While direct medical costs account for 24 percent of employers’ health care expenses, the cost of on-the-job productivity loss due to illness accounts for 63 percent,” said Castro. “Employers need to look not just at the cost of health benefits when considering whether to offer health insurance, but at the bigger picture of how employee health conditions are affecting benefit results and productivity. These days, having health insurance is critical to a family’s and a community’s financial well-being and security.”
Aetna is well-known for its involvement in Chicago’s Hispanic community. Over the last 3-1/2 years, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have awarded more than $2 million to organizations in Chicago, most of which are providing health and wellness services in Chicago’s under-served communities, including the Hispanic community. In addition, Aetna’s Chicago employees volunteer thousands of hours in Chicago’s communities and are committed to serving the health needs of our neighbors.
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.
Scot Roskelley, 312-928-3034