Friday, October 4, 2013

Aetna's Dental Medical Integration Program May Help Lower Costs and Result in Better Health

-- Medical claims costs lowered by an average of 17 percent among members in the program --
HARTFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--October 04, 2013-- 
Aetna (NYSE: AET) today announced results of an analysis of the Dental Medical Integration (DMI) program. Program outcomes show that good dental health may reduce medical costs and improve overall health. To date, DMI program members who visited the dentist have:
   -- Lowered their medical claim costs by an average of 17 percent,
   -- Improved diabetes control by 45 percent,
   -- Used 42 percent less major and basic dental services, and 
   -- Required 3.5 percent fewer hospital admissions year-over-year compared to 
      a 5.4 percent increase for non-members.
"The mission of our DMI program is to keep our members healthy and reduce their cost of health care," said Mary Lee Conicella, DMD and Chief Dental Officer for Aetna. "We've proactively reached over 1.5 million members since the program began. The results show that members with coordinated dental and medical care are healthier."
The DMI program launched in 2007. It was the result of research Aetna completed with Columbia University College of Dental Medicine that found:
   -- Members who received preventive dental treatment while pregnant had 25 
      percent lower pre-term delivery rates and 34 percent fewer incidents of 
      low birth weight, and 
   -- Members with diabetes or cardiovascular disease who received dental care 
      had an average of 27 percent lower risk scores.

The DMI program uses technology to automatically identify members with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or who are pregnant. Members with those medical conditions who have not recently seen the dentist receive education by mail and phone on the importance of regular dental care. Aetna dental coordinators are available to help DMI members choose a dentist and schedule an appointment. DMI members qualify for enhanced dental benefits such as an extra cleaning and periodontal services covered at 100 percent to help prevent more serious and costly issues. The enhanced dental benefits are not subject to deductible or coinsurance and do not count toward annual plan maximums. There is no added cost to members or plan sponsors for the DMI program.