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Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Introduces Industry's Most Comprehensive Transparency Initiative to Wisconsin

Anthem's Care Comparison Tool Gives Members in Wisconsin the Most Complete

Picture of Costs Associated with Medical Procedures

MILWAUKEE, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin announced today the launch of its industry-leading transparency initiative in northeastern Wisconsin. With the addition of Wisconsin, now nearly 3 million Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield members will have access to Anthem's Care Comparison, an online tool that provides total estimated costs associated with all aspects of 39 specific medical procedures performed at local area hospitals.

"Our Care Comparison tool allows members to compare prices and the number of procedures by hospital for 39 elective, high volume and expensive inpatient procedures," said Steve Martenet, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin. "Anthem's Care Comparison tool will help members assess the costs of each facility so they will have more of the information they need to make the best decision on the care that's right for them. Anthem members can now easily see how their choice of facility can impact their overall out-of-pocket costs."

Anthem's Care Comparison tool enables members to access the typical costs associated with all aspects of a specific medical procedure -- not just the cost of the procedure itself, but the costs of the entire spectrum of care, from lab tests to recovery room charges. In addition, the cost information is facility specific, so members can compare the differences in cost among hospitals. Anthem members can also get information on how frequently facilities perform each procedure, which can assist the member in assessing the care they seek.

Anthem's Care Comparison tool generates this information while also factoring in hospital, physician, and anesthesia costs to help provide a more accurate total cost analysis. These facility-specific medical care cost estimates help consumers understand the overall costs they are likely to incur before a medical service is provided.

The data generated for the Anthem Care Comparison tool comes directly from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield's claims data over the past 12-months and is updated quarterly. In addition, cost and quality information, including ratings based on the number of services performed at each facility, is supplied by several company-developed programs and partnerships with leading information management companies.

"Ultimately, we want Anthem's Care Comparison tool to create well-informed consumers of health care," said Michael Jaeger, M.D., medical director of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin. "Creating well-informed consumers, employers, physicians and hospital providers is an important element of transparency, and an essential step in transforming the consumers' role in their own health care."

In September 2006, Anthem unveiled the Anthem Care Comparison pilot in Dayton, Ohio, with partner General Motors, enabling thousands of Anthem members and GM employees in Dayton to participate in this transparency initiative. Since the rollout, Anthem has collected and analyzed member feedback to help enhance the effectiveness of Anthem's Care Comparison tool. More than 90 percent of members surveyed indicated the cost information provided by the tool is valuable, while 84 percent said it increases their ability to make good, informed decisions regarding where to have a medical service.

Anthem plans to continue expanding the Care Comparison tool throughout Wisconsin in 2008 and nationally.

In Wisconsin, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name used by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin ("BCBSWi") and Compcare Health Services Insurance Corporation ("Compcare"), independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. (R)ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin is available at .

SOURCE Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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