Aetna International, the global health benefits provider, is today launching DNA testing for its European members as an optional part of the wellness plans it offers.
The DNA test will exclusively look at health and lifestyle, including nutrigenomics (the relationship between what we eat and our biochemical response), fitness, sleep and stress. The goal is to support members who want to take control of their health, using personalised information to spark actionable lifestyle changes.
European brokers will be informed of the development later today at an event held at The Tower of London. This will include a presentation from Andrew Steele, the former Olympic track medallist, on how to use your genetic information to get the best health outcomes. Guests at the event will also get to undertake tests and discover some of their own genetic sensitives and predispositions as well as personalised recommendations for positive and sustainable lifestyle change.
Caroline Pain, Senior Vice President, Customer Proposition, at Aetna International comments: “We’re increasingly seeing people take a proactive approach to health, effectively becoming partners in their own care. It’s now possible to take a highly targeted approach to holistic wellbeing, with hyper-personalised and predictive health care. By introducing this type of DNA testing, we’re ensuring our members have the opportunity to take advantage of these advances, combining an awareness of their genetics with digital and social support in changing their behaviours for the better.”
From today, European employers that are starting or renewing their contract with Aetna International can purchase the DNA kit for employees as an add-on product. The test consists of a simple mouth swab, and is available for scheme of 10 employees or more at an exclusive subsidised launch price of £75 per person (RRP £150).
The test is in the form of a swab, which is sent to a certified UK lab for analysis. Members must register their kit online and provide their consent. They are then notified by email when their test has been processed, and can log in to a digital portal to explore and download their results.
One of the main differentiators of this service from other providers is the quantity and quality of post-test support available. Members can book a consultation appointment with an expert in nutrition and fitness to discuss changes they may like to make to their lifestyle. Later on, follow-up help and assistance can also be accessed from a number of Aetna International’s wellbeing and behavioural health resources, including health coaching, an employee assistance programme and vHealth, the virtual health care service. As part of a truly integrated solution, Aetna’s clinical and coaching teams are trained to understand the DNA testing results and implications to help members make the most of their personal insights within their wider healthcare journeys.
In implementing this innovation, privacy has been a top-most concern. Absolutely no personal data is shared with employers or used for underwriting or pricing purposes.
Caroline Pain concludes: “Genetic health and lifestyle testing is at the point of being mainstream, but there are a number of areas in which responsible providers need to tread carefully. Privacy is one, quality of tests is another, and knowing how to reliably interpret results is a third. Our members have the reassurance that all three are taken care of, and that we’re working with them to ensure they stay in optimum health.”
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