Aetna cuts costs with paperless contracting

Aetna was recognized among the InfoWorld Green 15 for eliminating paper from the contracting process for healthcare professionals. It is the first health insurer to use EchoSign e-signature technology to offer electronic contract processing, which allows both Aetna and healthcare professionals to

  • Complete contracts faster
  • Reduce expenses associated with faxing and mailing
  • Lower their carbon footprint

“Aetna is committed to making it easier for health care professionals to do business with us, while lowering costs. As a health care benefits company, we also are focused on creating a healthy environment. Our paperless contracting is one way we are advancing this mission,” said Carl King, head of National Networks and Contracting Services for Aetna. To date the company has processed some 20,000 agreements electronically.

InfoWorld’s Green 15 awards recognize companies around the world that have embraced green technology to drive projects and develop products aimed at boosting energy efficiency, trimming waste and reducing or eliminating the use of harmful substances. Other 2011 winners include Fujitsu, FedEx and GE Energy.

While the environmental benefits associated with green energy are all well and good, EchoSign technology is also helping Aetna trim its margins. Reducing business expenses such as mailing and faxing could give some companies an edge as competition ramps up within the international health insurance industry. Many firms’ bottom lines have already come under pressure as medical costs rise around the globe. This has forced them to either raise premiums or operate below market rates. In a competitive business environment like this, the less a company spends on postage the better – though it can’t hurt to save a few trees along the way.

Aetna is a US-based health benefits company. It offers a broad range of products to both individuals, employers, university students and expatriates (through Aetna International). Aetna delivered strong first quarter results in 2011 (earnings per share of USD 1.43). Nonetheless, analysts expect this to drop off rather sharply through the rest of 2010 – consensus estimates forecast earnings of USD 1.06 in Q2 and USD 1.03 in Q3.