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Graduates Needing Health Insurance Have Cost-Effective Options

Independence Blue Cross Individual HMO plans offer lower premiums, greater peace of mind

PHILADELPHIA, June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- College graduates across the region are finding themselves in a serious predicament: less than 20 percent of those 2009 grads who applied for jobs have received employment offers, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. And, no job can mean no health insurance.

As a result, many recent grads are facing the "I am uninsured" reality. And, that's not necessary, says Scott Post, vice president of marketing administration at Independence Blue Cross (IBC). Adults and parents of young adults can have the peace of mind that health coverage brings. Independence Blue Cross offers a solution: individual Keystone Health Plan East options in six medically underwritten HMO plans. Three of these plans have high-deductibles, which help keep monthly premiums low -- as low as $76, or about the daily cost of a latte at the corner coffee shop.

"In Pennsylvania, 1.2 million or close to 10 percent of our population is uninsured, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. We are pleased to offer affordable health plans to help people find the security that goes with being insured -- for those individuals who might otherwise worry every day about what will happen if they need health care," said Post. "We expect these new insurance plans, now available with low-cost preventive care services, will empower people to take better care of themselves, and offer the education and tools they need to be wise and informed health care consumers."

IBC's individual HMO plans are designed to keep monthly premiums affordable and offer preventive health visits with reasonable copays that are not subject to the deductible, which is $1,500 to $5,000. The deductible is applied to services like hospitalization and surgery. Once the member has paid the amount of the deductible, then the policy provides coverage.

These individual HMO plans offer many of the same features that employer-sponsored HMO plans offer. For example, IBC's individual HMO plans include access to urgent care anywhere in the world, routine eye exams and prescription benefits, including money-saving mail order options for 90-day supplies. They also offer the convenience of no claims forms, disease management, and decision support. The member's primary care physician, as with all of IBC's HMO plans, coordinates patient care. Also included are the popular Healthy Lifestyles(SM) programs such as cash reimbursements for fitness clubs, smoking cessation, weight management, and other rewards.

Offered through Keystone Health Plan East, Inc., a subsidiary of IBC, these individual HMO plans may also be ideal for sole proprietors, early retirees, and other individuals not covered by a group plan. IBC recently developed a website to help individuals explore which health insurance options may be most appropriate for them:

A December 2008 survey conducted by DSS Research shows that nine out of 10 individual Keystone Health Plan East HMO members would recommend their plan to a friend, indicating a high level of member confidence and satisfaction.

Later this year, insurers such as IBC will offer an option for group customers to extend dependent coverage so that parents can cover their adult children up through age 29, under parents' group health plans (those plans sponsored by employers and health and welfare funds.) This new option is provided in Act 4 of the recently passed Senate Bill 189, which allows employers to choose to offer adult dependent coverage through their group plans that are renewed or contracted after December 7, 2009. Adult dependents must meet certain eligibility requirements. Parents and their adult children will want to compare costs of this option against individual plan offerings.

Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.4 million people. For more than 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information, visit us at

SOURCE Independence Blue Cross
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