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Sponsored by: Aetna
October 10, 2023

Why prioritizing primary care will curb Connecticut costs

Health care costs are increasing at a rate that’s outpacing income and economic growth in Connecticut.(1) In response, legislature is prioritizing primary care (services for preventive and wellness needs, common illnesses, and chronic conditions) to ensure equitable health care access and affordability for people who live, work, and own businesses here.

Because increased primary care spending is tied to improved outcomes and reduced overall costs, the state initiative aims to direct 10% of health care spending toward this area by 2025.(2) This increase is intended to bolster upfront services and alleviate more costly health care expenses down the line. And alongside legislative agencies, physicians, health systems and insurance companies like Aetna®, a CVS Health® Company, also play a part in advancing primary care and achieving this target.

Primary care is health care, not just sick care

While primary care provides preventive and wellness services and treats everyday illnesses, it also guides patients toward resources they need but may not seek independently, like specialty care or physical therapy. Additionally, the mounting mental health crisis in our country has made it even more important that patients receive behavioral health support, which is often integrated with primary care. Along these lines, primary care physicians (PCPs) stand at the helm and pilot the patient journey, exerting influence over downstream services and outcomes.

Armed with holistic knowledge of a patient’s medical history, these doctors can focus on overall health improvement, connect patients with additional services, and provide ongoing, consultative health education. This one-on-one guidance is how primary care can keep pace with the substantial changes we’ve seen over the years, like a mounting need for behavioral health. When physicians are willing to provide primary care differently, it ceases to be just for annual physicals or sick care. Instead, it becomes an opportunity to truly coordinate care, improve mental and physical health, and mitigate costs.

Prioritizing primary care access, quality and affordability

One of the ways Aetna is advancing primary care is by offering insurance plans that support shifting the health care payment scales from volume to value—in other words, rewarding for quality care outcomes rather than quantity of services. We partner with PCPs who truly embody the role of quarterback of the care team and who provide high-quality care and support to patients.

For example, Aetna Whole Health plans in Connecticut allow employers to offer geographic breadth and access to their employees through a network of over 1,750 PCPs. Many of these providers belong to groups familiar to our community, like Value Care Alliance, SoNE HEALTH, ProHealth Physicians, Nuvance Health and Prospect Health, ensuring Connecticut residents can get care right where they are. Providers in our network are willing to collaborate with other care team members so that each patient receives compassionate, evidence-based services that truly improve their health. And when patients need other types of care, they have access to more than 12,000 specialists, 15 hospitals and 50 urgent care and walk-in clinics, too.

These physicians have shared goals in common with both Aetna and state-based agencies in prioritizing primary care. As a result, employers and consumers see cost savings, along with lower readmission rates and reduced numbers of avoidable emergency room visits.(3)

Better care in Connecticut from Aetna

At Aetna, we understand the importance and the potential of better, collaborative primary care in lowering the cost of health care for our Connecticut community. And we’re committed to providing insurance plans that meet the needs of our neighbors—from primary care to specialist services and everything in between— facilitating better access to care that keeps people healthier.

By Duncan Stuart

Regional Vice President, Northeast Region, Aetna

1 Connecticut Public |
2 Connecticut’s First Ever Healthcare Cost Growth Benchmark Report |,state's%20benchmark%20target%20of%203.4%25.
3 Aetna® Analytics, 2021