Aetna Inc. has introduced the Aetna Healthy Actions health and wellness rewards program.

The program can help employers provide incentives such as gift certificates, health club discounts or extra health savings account contributions for workers who meet goals such as completing a health risk assessment or signing up for a maternity management program.

Employers also can use the program to waive deductibles for members in health reimbursement arrangement or HSA plans who are buying preventive medications or medications used to control chronic conditions.

In other wellness news, CIGNA HealthCare, Bloomfield, Conn., a unit of CIGNA Corp., Philadelphia, will be trying to reduce the death rate from cancer of the colon and rectum by giving all members ages 50 and older who are overdue for a colorectal cancer screening a chance to get a colorectal cancer screening kit from Quest Diagnostics Inc., Madison, N.J.

CIGNA will pay for the test for most members.

Cancer of the colon and rectum can be treated easily if it is discovered early, but, because it often is discovered late, it kills about 50,000 U.S. residents per year, according to CIGNA.

When CIGNA has tried a universal outreach program in selected states in the past, that strategy helped increase the screening rate by an average of 8 percentage, the company says.