Skip to main content

Aetna helps foster friendship and leadership by providing $25,000 to Best Buddies

August 15, 2023 |5 minute read time

Two people outdoors throwing a soccer ball

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., Aug. 15, 2023 — Aetna Better Health of Illinois®, a CVS Health® company (NYSE: CVS), announced that Aetna® has provided a community investment of $25,000 to Best Buddies International to help support Illinois youth and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

The funds will be used to fortify BESTBUDDIES® Ambassadors — a key leadership development program in the organization.

“We are honored to receive this investment from Aetna,” said Stefanie Taylor, Development Director of Best Buddies Illinois. “Our leadership development programs help educate and empower people with and without IDD to become leaders, public speakers and advocates. Our partnership with Aetna ensures we can keep growing these essential programs and equip our buddies with the tools they need to succeed in life.”

“We believe health and wellness extends beyond health care. This investment reflects that commitment because economic development is one of many approaches to wellness,” said Rushil Desai, CEO, Aetna Better Health of Illinois. “Our collaboration with Best Buddies brings us a step closer to bridging the wellness gap and helping program participants lead the initiative to build a more inclusive world for people with IDD.”

Aetna Better Health of Illinois has awarded over $300,000 in community investments in 2023 to support various organizations across the state who assist Medicaid members with access to healthy food, job development, housing support, maternal and child health and access to care.

Best Buddies in Illinois offers one-to-one friendship, integrated employment and leadership development programs for individuals with and without disabilities.

Aetna Better Health of Illinois offers access to quality, affordable health care to individuals through the state's HealthChoice Illinois Medicaid program. The health plan serves over 420,000 members in 102 counties. For more information about Aetna Better Health® of Illinois, visit our website,


About Aetna Medicaid

Aetna Medicaid Administrators LLC (Aetna Medicaid) has over 30 years of experience managing the care of under-resourced populations, using innovative approaches and a local presence in each market to achieve both successful health care results and effective cost outcomes. Aetna Medicaid has expertise serving high-need Medicaid members, including those who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. Currently, Aetna Medicaid owns and/or administers Medicaid managed health care plans under the names of Aetna Better Health and other affiliate names. Together, these plans serve members in 16 states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.For more information, see

About CVS Health

CVS Health® is the leading health solutions company, delivering care like no one else can. We reach more people and improve the health of communities across America through our local presence, digital channels and over 300,000 dedicated colleagues – including more than 40,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and nurse practitioners. Wherever and whenever people need us, we help them with their health – whether that's managing chronic diseases, staying compliant with their medications, or accessing affordable health and wellness services in the most convenient ways. We help people navigate the health care system – and their personal health care – by improving access, lowering costs and being a trusted partner for every meaningful moment of health. And we do it all with heart, each and every day. Follow @CVSHealth on social media.

About Best Buddies International

Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to nearly 3,000 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies’ nine formal programs — Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies®, Jobs, Ambassadors, Promoters and Inclusive Living — engage participants in each of the 50 states and in 47 countries, positively impacting the lives of nearly 1 million people with and without disabilities around the world. In many cases, as a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships.

Media contact

Robert Joyce

Get the latest CVS Health® news

Sign up for our newsletter

Thank you for subscribing. There seems to be a problem. Please try again later.

Tackling public health challenges with heart