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Health Bits: Aetna, Humana, Others

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Pennsylvania has awarded a Medicaid managed care contract for a 5-county region to a unit of Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET)

The Aetna Better Health unit at Aetna, Hartford, will provide Medicaid medical assistance to residents of Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester, Montgomery and Bucks counties.

Aetna also will provide Medicaid managed care coverage in a 10-county region around Lehigh County.

In other health insurance news:

- HumanaOne, the individual health division of Humana Inc., Louisville, Ky., (NYSE:HUM) has introduced a new individual vision insurance plan in states where it has not previously sold individual vision plans.

The new HumanaOne Vision Focus Plan will cover annual eye exams and lenses for a co-payment. The plan also provides a retail frame allowance and discounts on Lasik procedures. The plan, offered through Humana Insurance Company, is available through the Web in 19 states.

Another vision plan product, the HumanaOne Vision Care Plan, is available in another 18 states, Humana says.

Rates start at about $14 per person per month.

Humana is not taking health condition or medical plan into account when evaluating applicants, the company says.

- Stonegate Advisors L.L.C., Chicago, a health insurance consulting firm, says it has conducted a health insurance broker survey and believes that groups with fewer than 50 employees are no longer simply repricing the plans they had the previous year.

Instead, small employers are allocating a fixed amount for health coverage and seeing what fits within that budget.

In some states, small employers are choosing “value-based” plans that give employees incentives for showing that they are trying to take good care of themselves.

Health plans should consider coping with the shift by finding ways to target services to fit the needs of specific membership segments, Stonegate says.

- Principal Financial Group Inc., Des Moines, Iowa (NYSE:PFG), has started renting the Principal Edge Network proprietary provider network in the Atlanta area.

The network includes online administration services and wellness discounts for plan members who show they are trying to take care of themselves, Principal says.

- HealthPass, New York, a health insurance purchasing exchange for New York City-area employers with 2 to 50 employees, is now offering 5 Oxford health insurance plans. The plans are written by units of UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka Minn. (NYSE:UNH)

- Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Newark, N.J., will be offering the Silver&Fit exercise program from American Specialty Health Inc., San Diego, to 54,000 Medicare Advantage plan members.

The program provides no-cost exercise center memberships and free exercise videos and Web video services for members who prefer to exercise at home.


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