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U.S. health insurer Aetna Inc. (AET - Analyst Report) has renewed its contract with WellStar Health System of Marietta. The multi-year contract would enable Aetna’s commercial plan members in the greater Atlanta area to continue to enjoy covered services, at in-network rates, from WellStar’s hospitals and physicians.

WellStar is believed to possess one of the leading integrated health systems, which enables its hospitals and doctors to provide high-quality care at affordable rates.

Aetna and WellStar have enjoyed a valuable and beneficial relationship historically. Thus, WellStar is regarded as one of the important parts of the company’s Atlanta-area network.

Aetna serves more than 500,000 members in Georgia. Those members can enjoy access to a contracted network of 192 hospitals and more than 16,000 primary care and specialist physicians in the region.

In a separate development, Aetna announced that it will offer college students a Tuition Refund Insurance for School Year 2012-2013. Over the last few years, college tuition in the U.S. has increased and reached to a mammoth level. The fees have reached to such an incremental point, that many American families go into ‘debt’ in order to pay for the education of their child.

Aetna’s offering, Student Protection Plan, is being provided by GradGuard, a service of Next Generation Insurance Group, LLC (NGI). The policy will help students reclaim their tuition expenses in case they fail to attend any semester due to medical problems. The policy refunds 100% of paid tuition, room and board, and other school related expenses up to the limits of the policy.

In addition to reimbursing college tuition fees, the policy provides extra features such as online reputation monitoring, identity theft protection and resolution, computer repair and virus detection, and extended warranty.

Earlier during the week, Aetna announced that it will start offering Aetna Vision Preferred plan, a student health insurance product, from the upcoming school year. This plan will be offered in 20 U.S. states, along with other plans. 

Peers CIGNA Corp. (CI - Analyst Report), and UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH - Analyst Report) also provide student insurance products, among others.

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