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Banner|Aetna partners with the Town of Gilbert to provide affordable health insurance and modernize benefit and wellness offerings for employees

Following is a conversation with Kristen Drew, Town of Gilbert deputy chief people officer, who led the Town’s transition to implement Banner|Aetna’s health insurance and wellness offerings.

What challenges led the Town of Gilbert to explore new benefit options and what type of coverage had you been providing to employees previously?

Town of Gilbert had a long standing (15+ year) relationship with a health insurance carrier but this coverage was lacking proactive measures to control expenses and benefits were loosely administered. As a result, claims costs were soaring. The Town needed help formulating a strategy to bring benefits up to date and manage claims long-term.

Our nearly 1,500 employees were also accustomed to one easy-to-understand plan without a deductible, which meant our internal benefits team would need assistance educating staff on new offerings including unfamiliar insurance aspects like out-of-pocket expenses. Town of Gilbert employees are very vocal on social media, so we knew that employee satisfaction with new benefit offerings would be key.

Industry: Public Sector

Number of employees: 1,250

Number of members: 3,500

Location: Gilbert, Arizona

We had several companies present to us and Banner|Aetna had the most affordable health insurance product offering overall. Banner|Aetna’s unique model keeps our employees connected to high-quality care while rigorously controlling costs through several innovative programs and wellness initiatives, which we did not have in place before.

But equally as important, their team seemed genuine. We really felt like they understood us and would be able to help advise us on some of the challenges we were facing.

How did Banner|Aetna assist with the onboarding process?

The Banner|Aetna team provided a consultative, wrap around approach to employee onboarding. They looked at what we had been doing, gave us some options and once we decided what worked best for us, Banner|Aetna helped us educate our leaders—and then our employees. They created personalized information, attended meetings, set up big forums and basically held our hand the whole way as we were implementing the change. Everything was tailored to what we needed, and the team really listened to us. Their support and guidance gave us comfort because it was a new process for everybody.

The Banner|Aetna team also helped us identify specific ways to improve the customer experience for the Town’s diverse employee population, which includes a high number of first responders. I really thought it was amazing that Banner|Aetna had us educate their customer service team on our company culture and what our employees are like so their team can deliver customized service.   

How did Banner|Aetna help the Town of Gilbert design affordable health insurance offerings?

Banner|Aetna designed a strong set of benefits with manageable out-of-pocket costs for our employees, including an individual deductible of just $500 and $20 copays for primary care visits. Then they provided two different network options to give our employees the right level of flexibility and choice. The first option provided affordable premiums for care delivered through the insurer’s Performance Network. This network includes over 22,000 doctors and 45 hospitals throughout 4 counties. Since our employees all are local, this was still a convenient plan option for many in our workforce. Or, for a slightly higher premium, employees could access care at providers through Banner|Aetna’s Broad Network, which includes more than 35,000 doctors and over 100 hospitals. Both networks include Banner Health doctors and facilities as well as those from other leading health systems like Honor Health and Tucson Medical Center. 

What kind of innovative programs were you offered to help control costs and improve care for employees via Banner|Aetna?

The Town of Gilbert prides itself on being an innovative, future focused place to live and work. For that reason, we were very excited to have the opportunity to participate in several great pilot programs through Banner|Aetna. These included the adoption of 98point6’s virtual care solution which was extremely well utilized during COVID-19 when access to in-person care was limited.

We also participated in a small Banner Health Maternity pilot program, designed to help improve quality of care for our expectant moms, and the Virta Health diabetes reversal pilot, which helps members with diabetes or prediabetes reverse the disease without medications.

What results has the Town of Gilbert achieved through Banner|Aetna’s new benefit offerings?

We were able to achieve major reduction in medical spend after one year thanks to these innovative benefit designs and some additional efforts designed to encourage members to make the right care decisions. For example, the Town rolled out a contribution strategy to incentivize members to enroll in the Performance Network, resulting in overall healthcare cost savings and lower care utilization. The network gives providers a 360-degree view of a member’s medical history to help them manage future health risks, avoid ER visits, and reduce the potential for inpatient stays. As a result of these efforts, at the close of the first plan year, our members in the performance network produced a medical claims spend that was 12.16% lower than the prior year (when benefits were provided by our previous carrier). This far exceeded their performance guarantee. 

Banner|Aetna also worked with us to develop a successful Wellness program. The Attain by Aetna program allows our employees to use their own wearable watch to earn gift card prizes or earn a watch by meeting certain activity goals, which really gives them some motivation. In our first year we reached 10% enrollment and it continues to develop and broaden each year with high adoption rates from employees. 

We’ve also witnessed some of the most important results by speaking to our employees. I consistently hear that Banner|Aetna’s customer service is extremely helpful. I have even seen the value of this support firsthand when I needed assistance resolving a precertification issue for orthopedic surgery. I was very impressed with how the representative stayed on top of my issue until it was resolved.

Five years after switching to Banner|Aetna’s affordable health insurance, the Town continues to benefit from the collaboration. We are managing claims costs while maintaining excellent quality of care and employee satisfaction, which makes this a success for us.

Banner|Aetna provides affordable health insurance options that deliver more savings, choices and convenience in Maricopa, Pima, Pinal and Coconino counties. To learn more about coverage, visit the Employer or Individual coverage pages or submit your questions online.

Transforming health care, together

Banner|Aetna aims to offer access to more efficient and effective member care at a more affordable cost. We join the right medical professionals with the right technology, so members benefit from quality, personalized health care designed to help them reach their health ambitions.

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What's New

Health benefits and health insurance plans are offered, underwritten, and/or administered by Banner Health and Aetna Health Insurance Company and/or Banner Health and Aetna Health Plan Inc. (Banner|Aetna). Banner|Aetna is an affiliate of Banner Health and of Aetna Life Insurance Company and its affiliates (Aetna). Each insurer has sole financial responsibility for its own products. Aetna and Banner Health provide certain management services to Banner|Aetna. Aetna, CVS Pharmacy® and MinuteClinic, LLC (which either operates or provides certain management support services to MinuteClinic-branded walk-in clinics) are part of the CVS Health® family of companies.

98point6® is a registered trademark of 98point6 Inc. Access to 98point6® is not included in all plans. 98point6 is available to members age 1-17 when an adult parent or guardian is also enrolled in the plan.

This material is for information only. An application must be completed to obtain coverage. Rates and benefits vary by location. Providers are independent contractors and are not agents of Banner|Aetna. Provider participation may change without notice.

Health insurance plans contain exclusions and limitations.

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