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BlueChoice HealthPlan to Launch Back Care Program
Date:6/10/2008

COLUMBIA, S.C., June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- As nearly 80 percent of adults experience back pain at some point in their lives, BlueChoice(R) HealthPlan of South Carolina this month will launch a free, back care program for its 200,000-plus members.

"Back pain is one of the most common medical problems and affects eight out of 10 people at some point in their lives. In South Carolina, back disorders were among the top causes of ER visits in 2006," said BlueChoice HealthPlan Chief Medical Officer Dr. Laura Long. "We hope to offer some hope of relief through our new program on back pain."

* Lower back pain accounts for two percent of all physician office visits;

only routine examinations, diabetes and hypertension resulted in more

office visits.

* Annual direct costs associated with spine conditions are comparable to

those of common chronic conditions including arthritis, cancer and

diabetes.

* Back pain accounts for 40 percent of all work absenteeism. Five percent

of Americans miss at least one day of work a year due to lower back

pain.

* In 2007, 3,427 BlueChoice HealthPlan members visited a primary care

physician and had a primary diagnosis of low back pain, 714 members went

to the ER for low back pain, and 178 members saw their primary care

physician and went to the ER for back pain.

BlueChoice HealthPlan's new Great Expectations(R) Back Care program will identify members with back pain and automatically enroll them, with a choice to opt out. The free program provides an educational packet and suggests ways to manage back pain, including strengthening and stretching exercises to prevent future back injuries, a survey to take to the doctor, and resources for further support.

Members with chronic, severe back pain will be considered for case management, which includes a one-on-one assessment of needs, coordination of services, and assistance in understanding and complying with the medical and pharmacy treatment plan set up by the member's doctor.

BlueChoice HealthPlan has other Great Expectations for health programs in diabetes, maternity, children's health, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression, heart disease, heart failure, men's health, women's health, migraine, weight loss and smoking cessation.

Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina (http://www.BlueChoiceSC.com) is a wholly owned subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, and both are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BlueChoice HealthPlan has an A+ rating from A.M. Best and an Excellent accreditation status, the highest level awarded, from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). BlueChoice HealthPlan has more than 7,000 physicians in its statewide network and serves approximately 212,000 members statewide. It offers four group health plans and one individual plan for children. (R)Registered mark of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. (R)Registered mark of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.


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SOURCE BlueChoice HealthPlan of SC
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