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Aetna Introduces New Health Insurance Options For Individuals And Their Families In California

Health plan options compatible with Health Savings Accounts available

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., August 3, 2005 — Aetna (NYSE: ΑET) announced today that it has begun marketing nine new plans for individuals and their families in California. The two new Aetna high-deductible health plans, which are compatible with the Aetna HealthFund® Health Savings Account (HSA), four new Aetna Advantage plans and three new Aetna Advantage Value plans are designed to provide affordable, comprehensive health coverage options for individuals and their families.

"Aetna is firmly committed to addressing the health insurance needs of the growing uninsured population, as well as the needs of individuals who directly purchase health care for themselves and their family members," said Laurie Brubaker, Aetna’s national general manager for Individual Markets. "We are developing new products and services to reach these underserved markets. Our plans are presented in an easy-to-understand format that provides guidance to individuals in finding plans that best fit their unique needs during particular stages in life."

Aetna is offering individuals and their families nine new plan designs. Four of the plans, which are called Aetna Advantage plans, offer members the freedom to go directly to any doctor, hospital or health care professional – including specialists – for covered expenses, with no referrals required. If a member chooses a health care professional from Aetna’s extensive network of participating physicians and hospitals, out-of-pocket costs will be lower and there are no in-network claim forms. The plans include "first- dollar coverage" and no deductibles for in-network doctor office visits.

All Aetna Advantage plans feature coverage for routine checkups and preventive care, specialty care, hospitalization and surgery, diagnostic testing and emergency care, subject to applicable copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. The plans also include prescription drug coverage, subject to a deductible and copayments, with no deductibles for generic prescriptions.

The three Aetna Advantage Value plans offer members similar benefits to the Aetna Advantage plans. The Value plans offer members lower premium payments; however, doctors’ office visits are covered only after members reach annual deductible payments and prescription drug coverage is not as comprehensive as with other Aetna plans. Also, all Aetna Advantage and Aetna Advantage Value plans are available on a child-only basis.

The additional two plans, Aetna high-deductible health plans, are compatible with the Aetna HealthFund HSA. Members can take advantage of a flexible health benefits plan paired with an HSA. HSAs are tax-advantaged accounts used to pay for qualified medical expenses. HSA contributions are tax deductible and earn interest tax free. HSAs are portable, and unused balances can be carried forward from year to year, making them a strong value for consumers.

In addition to plan benefits, through the Vision One®1 discount program, Fitness Program and Alternative Health Care Programs, members may access discounted rates from certain providers for products and services available to the general public. The Vision One program offers special member discounts on eye care products and services at participating optical centers. The Fitness Program provides special membership rates at participating fitness clubs contracted with Global Fit™2 and discounts on certain equipment. The Alternative Health Care Programs offer reduced rates on alternative therapies for members, including visits to chiropractors, acupuncturists, nutritional counselors and massage therapists, and members can save on over-the-counter vitamins and nutritional supplements through the Vitamin Advantage™ program.

To help members make informed decisions, Aetna offers online tools such as Aetna Navigator™, a member self-service website that provides a record of personal health information, and DocFind®, a directory members can use to search for health care professionals and facilities by particular criteria. Members also have access to Aetna InteliHealth®, an online consumer health information website.

"Consumer-directed health plans are starting to become popular," said Ron Herzog, partner with California Health Quote Insurance Services, a Carlsbad-based independent benefits brokerage firm. "I am pleased to see Aetna is offering high-deductible health plans, compatible with HSAs, and a variety of other plans for individuals and their families in California. Aetna has strong brand recognition and a national presence, which is very appealing to clients."

"We are dedicated to satisfying consumers’ needs for choice, simplicity and affordability," said Brubaker. "These cost-effective plans are designed to fit a variety of personal situations – for example, new graduates, those who are self-employed or between jobs, and early retirees. Individuals can log on to our newly redesigned website, choose the health insurance plans that best fit their health care needs, receive quotes and apply online."

In California, there are more than 6.4 million people – or 18 percent of the population – who are uninsured.3

In addition to California, Aetna plans for individuals and their families are currently being sold directly to consumers or through independent insurance agents and brokers in Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Aetna plans for individuals and their families are currently being sold through independent insurance agents and brokers in 35 counties in California.

As one of the nation’s leading providers of health care, dental, pharmacy, group life, disability and long-term care benefits, Aetna puts information and helpful resources to work for its approximately 14.435 million medical members, 12.976 million dental members, 9.117 million pharmacy members and 13.662 million group insurance members to help them make better informed decisions about their health care and protect their finances against health-related risks. Aetna provides easy access to cost-effective health care through a nationwide network of more than 684,000 health care professionals, including over 405,000 primary care and specialist doctors and 4,135 hospitals.  (Figures as of June 30, 2005)

Source: Aetna