New Consumer Education Website Helps Simplify Health Benefits Decisions in Era of Health Care Reform
National survey finds Americans craving information on how new health reform law will impact their decisions as millions head into annual open enrollment
Web resource provides practical, credible advice to help consumers make better health and benefits decisions and keep more money in their own pockets
HARTFORD, Conn., — While Americans are hearing more than ever about health care reform, this fall’s Open Enrollment season marks the first time that millions of people may need to make the connection between health reform and their own health benefits. According to a national survey released today by Be Smart About Your Health (www.BeSmartAboutYourHealth.com), an online consumer education portal developed by Aetna (NYSE: AET), almost 70 percent of Americans say they’re paying more attention to what health benefits options are available because of the new health reform law.
But, unlike other consumer purchases, many find the process can be challenging. In fact, 40 percent of Americans admit that when it comes to health care, they don’t know what they should be looking for (20 percent) or they don’t know what questions to ask (20 percent). Be Smart About Your Health gives people the tools and “know-how” to save time and money while making the best health decisions during Open Enrollment and throughout the year.
“If there were ever a year for consumers to get smart on their Open Enrollment information, this is the year. Consumers told us that they’re concerned about health care costs increasing, and that hard facts on health reform can be elusive. That’s why we’ve created a real-time resource that can help people choose, use and get the most value from their benefits,” said Susan Kosman, RN, BSN, MS, chief nursing officer for Aetna. “A lack of understanding can be a barrier to better health. This new online portal can help simplify all aspects of managing your health from maximizing your benefits to treating a chronic health condition.”
Be Smart About Your Health is an easy-to-understand resource that gives consumers a full view of health care in a user-friendly format. The site does away with the common medical and insurance-speak, and instead uses plain, everyday language. The website also pulls respected and credible information from other sites that Aetna has built. The website:
* Allows people to “discover their health” with Harvard Medical School content from Aetna InteliHealth®
* Offers important tips and tools from Aetna’s popular Plan for Your Health campaign
* Presents expert advice from the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) on how to best manage health care spending
* Supplies key facts to help people stay up-to-speed on health care reform
According to the recent survey of 1,015 insured adults, health benefits choices can be difficult to understand. In fact, more than half of survey participants said reading Shakespeare (52 percent) is easier than reading their health insurance policy (29 percent). Additionally, the new health care reform law leaves people even more bewildered. Almost 40 percent of respondents said they don’t know how the new health care reform law will affect their plan, and 25 percent noted that choosing a health plan this year will be harder than last year due to this new law.
The survey also identifies a major disconnect when it comes to understanding the financial impact of health benefits choices. Only 23 percent of people consider health care coverage as part of their financial plan, yet 24 percent of Americans say that comparing costs is what’s most important when evaluating health benefits during Open Enrollment. Selecting health benefits still falls at the bottom of the “to-do” list; survey respondents admitted they dread selecting their health benefits more than doing their taxes or cleaning. While Americans spend time clipping coupons and comparison shopping, they do not track health care spending.
“Given today’s economy, people go to great lengths to save money,” said Tracey Baker, co-author of Navigating Your Health Benefits For Dummies® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® (CFP®) professional. “Yet, a surprising 44 percent of people surveyed said they would give up $400 before they would spend time reviewing their health plan. Consumers need to understand that when it comes to health benefits, not taking the time to get smart on your options is like leaving money on the table.”
Be Smart About Your Health promotes greater understanding and better decision making about health benefits and financial planning. Launched today, Be Smart About Your Health encourages visitors to act like true consumers when it comes to their benefits. Specifically, this means: think like smart health care consumers; choose the right benefits; track spending; plan health care visits; and live well to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The portal also provides:
* Time-saving solutions, like how to review your health benefits in 60 minutes or less
* A glossary that defines key health and health benefits terms
* Links to other resources that provide further insight on specific health benefits and health care reform topics
About the Survey
These results are based on a survey conducted by Kelton Research between September 13 and 21, 2010, using an e-mail invitation and an online survey. A total of 1,015 people responded to the survey. Quotas are set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population ages 18 and over who have health insurance.
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 35.8 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. To learn more about Aetna’s innovative online tools, visit www.aetnatools.com.
About Be Smart About Your Health
Be Smart About Your Health is a one-stop consumer health benefits educational resource from Aetna designed to help people discover more about their physical and financial health and health benefits. Launched in 2010, the website allows visitors to think like smart health care consumers, choose the right benefits, track spending, plan health care visits and live well to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The portal also houses recent health information from Aetna InteliHealth®, interactive tools and the latest updates on health reform. Be Smart About Your Health promotes a better understanding to help people make more informed health care decisions and to help consumers protect their health and their finances. www.BeSmartAboutYourHealth.com
About Aetna InteliHealth®
Aetna InteliHealth’s mission is to empower people with trusted solutions for healthier lives by providing credible information from the most trusted sources, including Harvard Medical School and Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. Established in 1996, Aetna InteliHealth has become one of the leading online health information companies in the world. It includes health news and content as well as access to tools and risk assessments. Aetna InteliHealth is a subsidiary of Aetna and is funded by Aetna to the extent not funded by revenues from operations. www.intelihealth.com
About the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®)
FPA is the leadership and advocacy organization connecting those who provide, support and benefit from professional financial planning. FPA demonstrates and supports a professional commitment to education and a client-centered financial planning process. Based in Denver, Colo., FPA has over 100 chapters throughout the country representing more than 28,000 members involved in all facets of providing financial planning services. Working in alliance with academic leaders, legislative and regulatory bodies, financial services firms and consumer interest organizations, FPA is the community that fosters the value of financial planning and advances the financial planning profession. www.FPAnet.org
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