Aetna, one of the largest health benefits companies in the United States, has joined the Swiss Life Network as our U.S. partner to provide international and domestic health care cover and other insurance solutions for our roster of multinational clients. With its dedication to empowering its members to live healthier lives, Aetna is in the forefront of reshaping global health care from a focus on disease treatment to a focus on achieving good health. We recently sat down with Eugene Marks, General Manager of the Americas for Aetna International, to talk about Aetna’s philosophy, products and services, and the new partnership with Swiss Life Network.
Welcome to the Swiss Life Network. How do you see Aetna and Swiss Life complementing each other?
We see our new relationship as a particularly good fit. Like Swiss Life, we share a mission to provide high quality employee benefits solutions and services tailored to meet the specific needs of companies operating in different countries and cultures. Both companies have long track records of excellence and model our business on serving our customers. Culturally, we are very similar with common goals and objectives.
Tell us a little bit about Aetna.
Founded in 1853, our company is the United States’ third largest health care benefits company and a Fortune 100 company. We currently serve nearly 44 million people in the U.S. and abroad. Our inter national health care benefits business is one of the world's largest, supporting more than 500,000 people, most of whom are expatriates living and working in virtually every country. Most importantly, our values guide the thoughts and actions of our nearly 50,000 employees, inspiring innovation in our products and services and driving our commitment to excellence.
What products and services are you offering to Swiss Life’s clients?
As Swiss Life’s U.S. network partner, we offer a portfolio of health and health-related insurance products and services to meet the needs of multinationals’ U.S. workforce, particularly expatriate health coverage for their American workers living and working abroad. Our plans for expatriates include medical, dental, vision, life, disability and emergency assistance. Clients can also purchase our short-term, group international business traveler cover, WorldTravelerSM. Additionally, Swiss Life’s clients can access Aetna’s domestic employee benefits products and services for their U.S.-based workforces, including group term life, short- and long-term disability, accidental death and dismemberment, dental and medical coverage, plus market-leading health analytics and wellness solutions.
Image: Eugene Marks, General Manager of the Americas for Aetna International
Empowering people to live healthier lives is at the core of Aetna’s mission. Explain how this commitment plays out in your health care coverage, particularly your global coverage.
At Aetna, our commitment to better health permeates how we work with our members, from our care and disease management programs to our prevention and wellness features. We have a team of doctors, nurses and other clinicians – our International Health Advisory Team – who are on-call to advise our members about their treatment, act as patient advocates, and even provide one-on-one health coaching to help our members better manage a chronic condition or adopt a healthier lifestyle. Our online prevention and wellness library offers a wealth of information. And we offer free mobile apps, such as iTriage that lets people look up possible causes for their symptoms. We believe that the more control and knowledge people have about their health, the better they will be able to avoid getting sick or, if they do, recover more quickly.
What other kinds of support does Aetna’s international health advisory team offer besides care management?
We have a whole range of services our members can call upon 24/7 whenever they need help or advice. Our health advisory team offers assistance with pre-trip planning, obtaining prescription medications, identifying medical providers, maternity management, even health coaching and wellness tips. Most importantly, our health advisory team helps handle the logistics for medical evacuations and medical travel back home, so our members are in good hands if they require a medical evacuation.
Aetna has been a pioneer in leveraging technology, especially mobile technology. How is mobile technology influencing your global health care coverage?
Our technology strategy is two-fold: to make it easier for our members to do business with us and to help our members take control of their health. For example, we recently rolled out a new mobile app that lets our international members file their medical claims and receipts right from their smartphones. We also offer free provider directory apps so our international members find nearby doctors and hospitals in our network all over the world. In addition to iTriage, we offer free apps to help members monitor their exercise and eating habits to take better care of their health. We are continually investing in technologies that can empower people to live healthier lives.
Tell us about your network of health care providers.
In the U.S., our network of hospitals, doctors and clinics number more than one million. Outside the U.S., we have direct-settlement relationships with more than 100,000 providers, making it easy for expatriates to access care without having to pay out-of-pocket first and wait for reimbursement.
With health care costs rising and demand for quality health care growing all over the world, how do you see health care changing in the future to meet these pressures?
At Aetna, we see a real sea change happening. Health care will evolve from a focus on treating disease to a focus on keeping people healthy. Non-communicable or chronic conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, many cancers and respiratory problems now account for about 60 percent of deaths worldwide. Ironically, most chronic conditions are lifestyle related and can be avoided or better managed through healthy living habits. We’re going to see increased emphasis on prevention, wellness and all kinds of support to help people everywhere live healthy. At Aetna, helping people become or stay healthy is at the center of everything we do.
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