Aetna Disability Study: Focused Behavioral Health Approach Results in Quicker Return to Work

Aetna Disability Study: Focused Behavioral Health Approach Results in Quicker Return to Work

HARTFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- A study by Aetna's (NYSE: AET) Disability and Absence Management Services suggests that employees on short-term disability due to a behavioral health condition, who have their disability claims managed by a disability Behavioral Health Unit (BHU), average 11 fewer days on short-term disability compared to an industry benchmark. For employers, this result translates into an average cost avoidance of $1,177 per claim when compared to the benchmark.* For employees, the study demonstrates that behavioral health case management can improve both their physical and mental health, while helping them return to work sooner. Aetna conducted the study to measure the impact behavioral health clinicians have in managing disabling psychological conditions.

Industry data shows that patients with behavioral health disorders who do not receive treatment or who are not properly managed by a specialty physician often have trouble returning to work. They also may stay out of work longer than what is recommended for psychological well-being.

"Behavioral Health conditions can be difficult to treat. They often involve multiple physicians, frequent interventions and complex medication management," said Adele Spallone, LMHC, LMFT, and clinical services head for Aetna Disability and Absence Management Services. "The study data shows that Aetna's approach to behavioral health case management delivers positive results for members and employers alike. We focus on helping our members get healthy so they can return to work sooner. This helps employers improve the productivity of their workforce."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the most common disorders in working populations are depression, anxiety and substance abuse. One in ten adults report having symptoms of depression, which can result in increased work absenteeism, short-term disability and decreased productivity.1

For over 15 years, Aetna's dedicated and experienced BHU has specialized in the management of behavioral health disability claims. The BHU consists of over 45 licensed behavioral health counselors and psychiatric nurses who consistently provide "best-in-class" service. The BHU focuses on case management to ensure members return to work in optimal physical and mental health. They educate physicians on behavioral health disorders and their impact on workplace absence. They also connect disabled members to other resources such as employee assistance programs and health and wellness programs.


*Illustrated savings based on Aetna data on claims involving psychological conditions compared to a 2011 Medical Disability Advisor (MDA) duration data published by the Presley Reed Group. Actual results will vary.

About Aetna

Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 37.3 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services and health information technology services. Aetna's customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see

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