Aetna Disability Study: Focused Behavioral Health Approach Results in Quicker Return to Work

Tue Apr 9, 2013 10:08am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

HARTFORD, Conn.--(Business Wire)--
A study by Aetna`s (NYSE: AET) Disability and Absence Management Services
suggests that employees on short-term disability due to a behavioral health
condition, who have their disability claims managed by a disability Behavioral
Health Unit (BHU), average 11 fewer days on short-term disability compared to an
industry benchmark. For employers, this result translates into an average cost
avoidance of $1,177 per claim when compared to the benchmark.* For employees,
the study demonstrates that behavioral health case management can improve both
their physical and mental health, while helping them return to work sooner.
Aetna conducted the study to measure the impact behavioral health clinicians
have in managing disabling psychological conditions. 

Industry data shows that patients with behavioral health disorders who do not
receive treatment or who are not properly managed by a specialty physician often
have trouble returning to work. They also may stay out of work longer than what
is recommended for psychological well-being. 

"Behavioral Health conditions can be difficult to treat. They often involve
multiple physicians, frequent interventions and complex medication management,"
said Adele Spallone, LMHC, LMFT, and clinical services head for Aetna Disability
and Absence Management Services. "The study data shows that Aetna`s approach to
behavioral health case management delivers positive results for members and
employers alike. We focus on helping our members get healthy so they can return
to work sooner. This helps employers improve the productivity of their

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the most common disorders in
working populations are depression, anxiety and substance abuse. One in ten
adults report having symptoms of depression, which can result in increased work
absenteeism, short-term disability and decreased productivity.1

For over 15 years, Aetna`s dedicated and experienced BHU has specialized in the
management of behavioral health disability claims. The BHU consists of over 45
licensed behavioral health counselors and psychiatric nurses who consistently
provide "best-in-class" service. The BHU focuses on case management to ensure
members return to work in optimal physical and mental health. They educate
physicians on behavioral health disorders and their impact on workplace absence.
They also connect disabled members to other resources such as employee
assistance programs and health and wellness programs. 


*Illustrated savings based on Aetna data on claims involving psychological
conditions compared to a 2011 Medical Disability Advisor (MDA) duration data
published by the Presley Reed Group. Actual results will vary. 

About Aetna

Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies,
serving approximately 37.3 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. 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

Trasee Carr, 614-855-6254

Copyright Business Wire 2013

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