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Access to Physicians Is Consumers' Highest Priority When Choosing a Health Plan, According to New Study
Date:9/29/2008

WellPoint Institute of Health Care Knowledge Releases Results of First

Study

INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- WellPoint Institute of Health Care Knowledge today released its first study: "Choosing a Health Plan: What Should Consumers Look For?" The Institute regularly issues evidence-based research studies, fact sheets and policy statements designed to help create more informed consumers and improve health care for all, including WellPoint's 35 million members.

Based on responses from more than 100,000 consumers, employers and industry thought leaders, the breadth of a health plan's network is the highest priority when choosing a health plan.

Highlighting the need for consumer engagement, the study also found that only one-third of consumers were knowledgeable regarding what services were covered by their current health plan.

"Millions of Americans are in the middle of open enrollment season, a 6 to 8 week period when employees have the option to change their health plan," said Sam Nussbaum, chief medical officer, WellPoint, Inc. "As employees become more informed health care consumers and are paying a greater portion of their overall health care costs, it is especially important for consumers to take a careful look at those benefits that are of particular value to their health care needs, including pharmacy benefits, wellness and health improvement programs."

According to "Choosing a Health Plan: What Should Consumers Look For?" the following categories were found to strongly influence consumers' overall experiences with their current health plans and are important factors to consider when choosing a health plan:

-- Choice of networks and doctors;

-- Affordability and health plan value;

-- Health and wellness tools and services;

-- Health plan communications regarding how to find a doctor or clinic

within a network and benefit coverage;

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SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.
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