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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Announces Wellness Tools and Resources
Date:3/20/2008

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois helps employer groups and members experience wellness everywhere

CHICAGO, March 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) today announced new integrated tools and resources designed to promote members' health, wellness, and productivity, including:

-- health assessment and health planning tools;

-- health educational resources;

-- lifestyle management programs;

-- worksite wellness initiatives; and

-- motivational and incentive programs.

"Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois' goal is to help our members experience wellness everywhere," Paul Boulis, BCBSIL president, said. "Blue Cross recognizes that health and wellness varies by individual, so we have developed a variety of resources and outreach programs. For those members whose health conditions require more assistance, we provide direct support to help them reach their optimum level of health."

Self-assessment helps members understand and address health issues

BCBSIL's wellness tools and resources consist of several components, starting with health risk assessments (HRA), which help participants evaluate and better understand their health status. Based on their input, HRAs produce personalized reports, which highlight areas of health risk. Using the reports, members can develop health goals and plans for improvement that address fitness, nutrition, and a host of related issues. In addition, they can enroll in lifestyle management programs, covering topics ranging from tobacco cessation to weight management.

Worksite wellness resources for employers

BCBSIL's wellness tools also incorporate a number of worksite wellness modules, including Webinars on health and wellness topics; onsite health fairs, health screenings, and topic-specific health and wellness seminars; and health information.

In addition, BCBSIL provides wellness campaigns "in a box" spanning a range of topics, from walking programs to weight management contests. Campaigns include planning tips and pre-written employee communications materials, such as e-mails, posters, and fliers. BCBSIL also incorporates educational components, such as pre-written articles and an online health encyclopedia, drug index, and interactive symptom checker.

Participating members have access to nurses by phone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as well as e-mail access to dietitians, life coaches, and trainers. In addition, BCBSIL offers discounts on memberships to a variety of other health clubs and weight management programs. Further, BCBSIL members can receive discounts on a variety of alternative and complementary health care products and services, ranging from vitamins and herbal supplements to acupuncture, meditation, yoga, and mind and body therapies.

"As we do with our core benefits programs, Blue Cross will work with employer groups to design and customize wellness tools and resources to meet their needs," Boulis said.

Motivating employees to participate key

BCBSIL also incorporates incentives, which motivate members to participate and reward them for completing various activities. For example, participants may be rewarded for completing HRAs, developing a fitness or nutrition plan, or participating in physical activities, such as walking, swimming, or dancing. Rewards may range from deductible credits to gift cards redeemable for a range of products and services.

"Blue Cross is interested in helping members address their health and wellness in a positive, dignified, and confidential manner," Boulis said.

Employers can assess effectiveness

Measurement and evaluation capabilities help employers assess efficacy. For example, employers can access unidentified aggregate HRA data, which provide information about their employee population's overall health, highlighting top areas of concerns. This component is available to employers with more than 100 enrolled subscribers and at least 50 members completing their HRAs. The report is benchmarked against many different groups with similar socio-demographic factors, industry segments, and locations both in the United States and internationally. The report also identifies and recommends wellness activities that target areas of focus identified by the aggregate HRA data.

With more than 7 million members, BCBSIL, a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, is the largest health insurance company in Illinois. Started in 1936, BCBSIL is committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and its communities through accessible, cost-effective, quality health care. BCBSIL is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.


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SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
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