NU Online News Service, April 18, 12:45 p.m. – Aetna Inc., Hartford, says its Aetna Global Benefits unit has added a password-protected, worldwide hospital database to its member Web site, at http://www.aetna.com/agb

The database lists hospitals in Aetna’s provider network in 38 countries.

The hospitals in the network have agreed to accept payments directly from Aetna. Traditionally, patients using many “expatriate” and international insurance programs have had to pay the hospitals themselves, then seek reimbursement from their insurers.

Members of the Aetna global program can start the direct-pay process by e-mailing a request to Aetna for assistance.