Aetna has expanded Aetna Navigatorits online tool that lets member patients see and compare prices of common services and procedures by network physiciansto include optometrists, audiologists, chiropractors, occupational therapists, physical therapists, podiatrists, speech pathologists and speech therapists.

The tool displays Aetnas fee schedule and typical fees by geographic area for common procedures such as office visits. Members can also rate their doctors online.

In these tough economic times, many people may think about ways to reduce their expenses, such as cutting back on vacations or finding ways to be thrifty at the grocery store, but consumers may not consider the ways they can stretch their budgets by maximizing their health benefits, says Kathy Campbell, Aetnas head of product development.

Aetnas price transparency tool was beta-tested in Cincinnati in 2005, then adjusted based on physician feedback, and has now expanded to 57 markets with the addition of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

The company says the purpose of Aetna Navigator is to allow members to compare costs and highlight the value of accessing in-network care compared to out of network doctors.

Vol. No: 146:04Issue: 4/15/2009