NU Online News Service, Dec. 2, 2:27 p.m. – Aetna Inc., Hartford, has received permission from New York state insurance regulators to set up an “exclusive provider organization” that will operate in New York City and Syracuse and the Upstate New York and Western New York regions.

An EPO is somewhat more flexible than a traditional health maintenance organization. Members of an EPO have strong financial incentives to use doctors and hospitals within the Aetna network, but they do not have to designate primary care physicians or obtain referrals before seeing specialists, Aetna says.

Employers that buy fully insured coverage can use the EPO plans to cover employees who live in Connecticut and New Jersey, Aetna says.