Aetna HealthFund Study Results Highlight More Than a Decade of Helping Employers Save Millions

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Data also shows that members with consumer-directed health plans are more engaged in managing their health

HARTFORD, Conn. – The tenth annual Aetna HealthFund® study shows that employers that replace their health benefits plans with Aetna HealthFund consumer-directed plans saved nearly $208 per member per year. The lower health care costs result in savings of $12.5 million over a six-year period for every 10,000 members. The Aetna HealthFund study is the longest running review of consumer-directed plans in the industry, drawing experience from more than a decade of claims data.

Based on nearly 10 years of data, members with Aetna HealthFund plans consistently spent less on most types of health care services, including specialist doctor's visits, emergency room visits and total pharmacy costs. Despite lower overall health care costs, members with Aetna HealthFund plans received routine preventive care from their primary care doctors 9 percent more than members with Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans. Aetna HealthFund members also had higher rates of screenings for cervical cancer (nearly 5 percent higher), colorectal cancer (8 percent), and prostate cancer (10 percent), as well as mammograms (3 percent) and immunizations (3 percent).

"Consumerism is one of the ways we’re helping shape the future of health care. And consumerism is at its best when employees are engaged and understand the financial impact of their choices," said David A. Queller, president of National Accounts for Aetna. "The Aetna HealthFund plans have a track record of reducing health care costs for employers, while empowering employees to live healthier lives and manage their health instead of their health care. We continue to see more employers moving to consumer-directed plans, with a 20 percent increase in enrollment in Aetna HealthFund plans over the past year."

Comprehensive Employee Engagement Strategy Leads to Better Results

Employers that completely transitioned their employees to Aetna HealthFund plans saw the most dramatic cost savings. In addition, employers that simply offered Aetna HealthFund plans as an option still saw significant reductions in their health care costs. Across both groups, employers that used a comprehensive implementation strategy saw lower health care costs compared with employers that did not use several "best practices." These best practices include a year-round employee communications strategy; offering incentives for healthy behaviors; and a combination of wellness and care management programs.

While employers that replace their health benefits plans with Aetna HealthFund plans saved nearly $208 per member per year, employers that used these best practices saw an additional $70 per member per year of savings compared with employers that did not use these approaches. Employees with the companies that used a comprehensive approach:

  • Accessed their benefits information 21 percent more frequently.
  • Participated in health risk assessments 20 percent more frequently.
  • Used wellness programs 20 percent more frequently.

"Successful employers encourage and educate their employees on how to best use these plans," said Chris Riedl, head of product strategy for National Accounts at Aetna. "Getting people more engaged in their own health care can then improve health outcomes for employees and lower health care costs for employers."

About Aetna

Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving an estimated 44 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers’ compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. Aetna’s customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see

Aetna Media Contact:

Ethan Slavin