Aetna Healthy Lifestyle Coaching Helps Employees Live Healthier and Employers Save Money

Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:58am EDT

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HARTFORD, Conn.--(Business Wire)--
The best coaches are flexible enough to offer different strategies for success
based on the people they assist. Aetna (NYSE: AET) recently enhanced its Healthy
Lifestyle Coaching (HLC) program to give both employers and employees this type
of flexibility in a wellness program. 

The enhancements to the HLC program aim to build on successful results the
program has already achieved. Aetna research of 80 employers who used the HLC
program found that these employers had a 150 percent return on investment from
reduced medical and pharmacy costs, decreased absenteeism and improved
productivity. This research also found that employees who participated in the
program had health improvements in a number of different areas:

* 55 percent of program participants exercised more 
* 54 percent of program participants lost weight 
* 51 percent of program participants reduced stress

"We understand that employers have unique needs with a wellness program, and so
do their employees," said Susan Kosman, R.N., chief nursing officer for Aetna.
"The HLC program doesn`t steer the employer or employee to use one solution.
Instead, we look at all the different ways we can engage and empower employees
to improve their health. These improvements can then increase productivity and
lower health care costs for their employer." 

Helping Employees Achieve Their Health Goals

Aetna uses a variety of coaching methods within the HLC program. Employees can
receive one-to-one phone coaching or participate in group coaching with other
employees. They can also access coach-supported online lifestyle communities
developed by CaféWell. The social networks give participants peer to peer
support from other Aetna members who want to make similar health changes. 

"Many people respond well to one-to-one coaching. However, we know that many
others find success in a group setting, or when they can share the experience
with people through social communities," Kosman said. "Providing several
different coaching options gives members the best chance of improving their
health." 

Members can also receive incentives for meeting certain milestones with their
coaches through all of these programs. 

All Healthy Lifestyle Coaching program options are mindfulness-based, expanding
Aetna`s use of mindfulness techniques in wellness programs. Aetna previously
worked with Duke Integrative Medicine and eMindful to test two mind-body stress
reductions programs - Mindfulness at Work (mindfulness meditation) and Viniyoga
Stress Reduction (therapeutic Viniyoga). Available to commercial employers,
these programs have been proven to help participants significantly reduce their
perceived stress levels while improving their ability to respond to stress. 

Program Options

More than 400 employers are currently using the HLC program. The enhancements to
the HLC program options let employers choose the approach that will best help
their specific employee population while fitting their business needs. The four
options available to employers through the HLC program are:

* Healthy Lifestyle Coaching - The most comprehensive option gives employees the
option of focusing on general health improvements, stress management, weight
management or tobacco cessation. 
* Healthy Lifestyle Coaching Lite - A lower-cost option where employees can
participate in a 12-week group coaching program that meets every two weeks.
Members also complete "homework assignments" between sessions. One-to-one phone
coaching is not available with this option. 
* Healthy Lifestyle Coaching Healthy Weight - Focused on weight management, this
option identifies potential participants through results from a health risk
assessment or other clinical indicators. 
* Healthy Lifestyle Coaching Tobacco Free - This option is designed to help
employees quit tobacco dependence.

The HLC programs are available to Aetna`s National Accounts, Middle Markets and
Public & Labor employer customers. Employers can receive comprehensive reports
on employee participation and outcomes on a quarterly basis through all of these
programs. 

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 www.aetna.com

Aetna
Ethan Slavin, 860-273-6095
slavine@aetna.com

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