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Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire Gives Boost to Help Small Businesses in the Granite State

CONCORD, N.H., July 16 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of an innovative new program championed by New Hampshire Governor John Lynch, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire has announced that it will begin offering a New Hampshire HealthFirst product to small employers beginning October 1, 2009.

In making the announcement Anthem indicated that its recently approved New Hampshire HealthFirst filings included premium base rates that met the price point of 10% of the state median wage, as established by the New Hampshire HealthFirst enabling legislation.

"Small businesses can save thousands of dollars a year, while still offering their employees quality health insurance. Small businesses can invest that savings in growing their companies or hiring new employees," said Gov. Lynch.

"Any serious health care reform effort must involve collaborative public-private partnerships," said Douglas J. Wenners, general manager and president, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire. "This initiative between Governor Lynch, the Department of Insurance, and Anthem demonstrates how, by working together, we can introduce new coverage options for the small employers in our state."

The New Hampshire HealthFirst plan is focused on keeping members healthy, said Richard Lafleur, M.D., medical director, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire. "As with all of our plans, there are leading edge programs to help our members manage their chronic diseases. What makes this plan unique are the incentives for healthy individuals. By engaging in or maintaining healthy behaviors, members can qualify for incentives of up to $200.00 in the first year and can reduce their deductibles in the second and third years by up to $1000.00 per year. These are real dollars," he said.

"New Hampshire HealthFirst is also about changing the direction of health care in New Hampshire. It is focused on wellness, prevention, and the promotion of healthier lifestyles, which will help reduce our state's overall health care costs," Gov. Lynch said.

A wide range of preventative benefits are included in the New Hampshire HealthFirst plan. Services provided at no additional cost include: immunizations, routine physical exams, annual gynecological exams and family planning visits, an annual care plan for members with chronic illnesses, mammograms, pap smears, lead screening, PSA (prostate screening), and other routine preventive screenings such as total cholesterol, lipids and diabetic screenings. Routine hearing exams are also covered in full.

As part of the program, Anthem will provide members with access to a "care navigator" who will assist the member in understanding the New Hampshire HealthFirst benefit design and provide support in navigating the health care system.

"As the state's largest health insurer, we are looking forward to the opportunity to provide coverage to even more of our customers through the HealthFirst plan," said Mr. Wenners. "Small business is a vital part of New Hampshire's economy. This new plan will hopefully support both a healthier bottom line and healthier, productive workers."

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire is the trade name of Anthem Health Plans of New Hampshire, Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. (R)ANTHEM is a registered trade mark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire is available at

SOURCE Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire
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