Aurora Health Care and Aetna form accountable care collaboration, offer new commercial health care products

July 26, 2012

Milwaukee, WI – Aurora Health Care has joined with Aetna (NYSE: AET) to bring employers a new type of commercial health plan designed to improve employees’ health care experience and health outcomes, while controlling costs. The Aurora Accountable Care Network offers businesses a high-quality, affordable alternative in a time of rising health care spending.

The Aurora Accountable Care Network offers a price guarantee to employers built upon a health care model that improves quality, outcomes and the patient experience. This type of price guarantee is possibly the first of its kind among accountable care models. Employers will see real savings in what they spend on health care as a result of improved patient outcomes and greater efficiencies. Cost savings will be specific to each employer, with the potential for an average 10 percent reduction based on the employer’s past claims expenses. The plans with Aetna will be effective beginning Jan. 1, 2013.

“This is a game changer,” said Nick Turkal, MD, Aurora Health Care’s president and CEO. “We are pleased to collaborate with Aetna to make our accountable care model available to the commercial health insurance market. As an employer, we have met national quality benchmarks among our own employees, while curbing our health care costs. Now we aim to replicate this success for others.”

Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna chairman, CEO and president, said, “We are building on our strong provider relationships to establish a nationwide accountable network that offers better care at a lower cost for everyone. Aurora Health Care has revolutionized health care in Wisconsin. Aetna’s industry-leading care management programs and consumer tools together with Aurora’s outstanding patient care model will lead to a better overall health care experience.”

The Aetna plans offered through the Aurora Accountable Care Network are designed for Wisconsin small and mid-sized businesses. Flexible solutions for large, self-funded employers are also available. The plans are fully insured and feature two tiers of benefits and copays.

They are designed to provide:

• a more coordinated, personalized experience for patients;
• lower co-pays for seeing Aurora Accountable Care Network providers; and
• better health care outcomes.

“Aetna views accountable care organizations as a model for making health care work better for everyone,” said Bill Berenson, Aetna market president. “Aurora has demonstrated it can improve outcomes through how it integrates patient care and implements best practices. Together with Aurora, Aetna will offer more affordable and more personalized health benefits to Wisconsin employers and their employees. This is the future of health care.”

The Aurora Accountable Care Network achieves this level of health care quality and personalized service through Aurora’s integrated system of more than 1,500 physicians, 15 hospitals and 160 clinics in eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

Employees also will have access to care managers, who can schedule appointments, help patients connect with physicians and follow up with patients who have chronic or complex conditions. This additional support is enhanced by Aurora’s systemwide electronic medical records and real-time claims analysis.

Aurora has 15 years of experience with such efforts. As an employer with 48,000 covered lives, Aurora has successfully bent the cost curve. Aurora’s per-member-per-month costs went down 2.4 percent in 2010 compared to the national average that has been rising 10 percent to 12 percent annually.

Between 2001 and 2010 costs for the Aurora employee health plan rose 6.2 percent per year on average, well below the national average that rose 10.7 percent a year.

Between 2008 and 2010 the plan’s costs rose only 1.5 percent a year, while the nation saw an average increase of 9.0 percent.
Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve health care quality. Aurora offers services at sites in 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois and treats 1.2 million individuals a year.

Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.1 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 and health information technology services. Our 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 www.aetna.com.

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Contact: Myrle Croasdale
Phone: 1-414-299-1691

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