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Empire BlueCross BlueShield Adds Life Insurance, Becomes Full-Service Benefits Provider
Date:6/9/2009

Anthem Life and Disability products, vision and dental expand cost-effective solutions for today's challenging economy

NEW YORK, June 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Empire BlueCross BlueShield (Empire) today announced approval by the New York Department of Insurance to begin offering Life and Disability insurance as part of their broad benefit portfolio. Available through the New York-based affiliate, Anthem Life & Disability Insurance Company, this addition makes Empire a leading information resource and one-stop shop for medical, pharmacy, dental, vision, life and disability benefit programs for individuals as well as large and small employers in New York State.

Earlier this year Empire launched Blue View Vision, a new, innovative eye care insurance option, which is now available for sale for all groups with two or more employees.

"Empire BlueCross BlueShield is proud of a reputation for being a leading health and hospital insurance provider in New York for the last 75 years," said Mark Wagar, president and CEO, Empire BlueCross BlueShield. "These new products allow us to create flexible benefits programs for large and small businesses. This will help them control costs and remain competitive while providing strong medical benefits for the employees and their families."

With the addition of these products, Empire BlueCross BlueShield and its affiliated companies* now serve more than 4.7 million members with life and disability benefits (approximately 84,000 group customers nationwide), as well as administer dental benefits to 8 million members and serve nearly 2 million vision members, nationwide.

* Each affiliated company is a separate, independent legal entity for financial purposes and is solely responsible for its own contractual obligations and liabilities.

Keeping Workforce Healthy Through Preventive and Quality, Cost-Effective Care

Keeping the workforce productive and healthy is one key component to managing the overall costs of health care. Many health problems can be prevented or treated effectively through immunizations and healthy lifestyles, or detected early through annual physicals, well visits and screenings.

In addition to Empire's 360 Degree Health, a comprehensive suite of preventive care programs, wellness information, case management and care coordination services, the recently introduced Empire Blue View Vision coverage can help employers offer solutions for an aging workforce. The National Eye Institute estimates that more than 38 million Americans age 40 and older experience blindness, low-vision or age-related eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma or cataracts.

The addition of Blue View Vision also provides affordable access to more than 1,600 vision network providers in New York and to more than 21,000 providers and provider locations nationwide, including ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians. In addition to private practitioners, Blue View Vision's broad national network includes retailers like LensCrafters(R), Target(R) Optical, Sears Optical, JCPenney Optical, Pearl Vision(R), and New York based Empire Vision and Davis Vision Centers.

Blue View Vision members can receive important benefits and discounts on products and services, including comprehensive eye examinations and coverage for lenses and frames or contact lenses. Members also see additional savings of up to 40 percent on the purchase of extra pairs of eyewear, conventional contact lenses, lens treatments, specialized lenses and other non-covered items, even after they've exhausted covered benefits. Many provider locations are open evenings and weekends so members have greater flexibility and convenience when scheduling appointments. Because so many people buy glasses or lenses on evenings and weekends, Blue View Vision customer service is available seven days a week.

New York Based Life & Disability Tools

Small and large group employers in New York have new life and disability insurance options offered by Empire BlueCross BlueShield's affiliate, Anthem Life & Disability Insurance Company (Anthem Life).

Empire offers access to Anthem Life products to employers with as few as two employees and disability benefits to employers with as few as 10 employees.

The Anthem Life portfolio includes basic group term life, dependent life, optional life, optional dependent life, short term disability, voluntary short term disability, long term disability, voluntary long term disability and voluntary accidental death and dismemberment. In addition, the Anthem Life Resource Adviser benefit offers assistance to members for a variety of personal needs and services, including:

  • Confidential access for employees and family members to extensive work/life and legal/financial resources, including on-line will preparation and identity theft resources, via the Resource Advisor website;
  • For employees, face-to-face and telephone consultations with legal and financial professionals;
  • For life insurance beneficiaries, face-to-face visits with a licensed mental health or legal professional and telephone consultations with financial professionals; and
  • Travel Assistant, which provides a safety net for members should a medical emergency arise while they are traveling for personal or business reasons.

Empire's Improved, Expanded In-House Dental Plan

In 2008, Empire's parent company announced the acquisition of DeCare Dental, one of the country's largest administrators of dental benefit plans. DeCare, a Minneapolis-based company, manages four million members representing 21,000 group customers. By acquiring DeCare, Empire can offer dental products that balance affordability and access, drawing upon DeCare's expertise in dental analytics and operations. Today, DeCare boasts one of the nation's largest dental PPO networks, serving 10 dental plans and provides and administers dental benefits to four million members.

About Empire BlueCross BlueShield

Empire BlueCross BlueShield (Empire) is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Inc., and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice HMO, Inc., independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, serving residents and businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York State. Additional information about Empire is available at www.empireblue.com.


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SOURCE Empire BlueCross BlueShield
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