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Guardian Enhances Medical Plans With New Wellness Benefits
Date:5/12/2009

New Initiatives Help Plan Members Better Manage Healthcare Needs and Spending

NEW YORK, May 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), one of the largest mutual life insurers and a leading provider of employee and voluntary benefits for small and mid-sized companies, today introduced enhanced Wellness features for all Guardian medical plans. Employers and their employees will now have access to a broad range of resources and services to help them take an active role in managing their health.

The Guardian Wellness Program offers new interactive features that will enable participants to better understand their health care needs and keep track of treatments. Consumers will have access to an array of advice and information resources to empower them to make better health care decisions as well as alternative medicine discounts to give them more options for staying healthy.

A comprehensive wellness program is an integral part of a company's medical plan. Wellness resources provide employees with education and tools to assess their medical history, habits and lifestyle, identify risks and take proactive steps to maintain their health and control disease. While any benefit that helps keep employees healthy is a valuable one, a well-constructed wellness program plays an important role for employers too -- especially during a slow economy. Healthy employees and those who are effectively managing chronic conditions take time off from work less often and are more productive. As the workforce contracts, employee productivity is an important ingredient to a company's ongoing success. A healthier employee population has fewer claims, which helps to control medical premiums over the long term.

"Employees don't have to get sick to get the benefits of Guardian's health plans. Guardian now offers one of the most comprehensive suites of wellness resources in the benefits industry," said Tim Bireley, Vice President of Group Medical at Guardian. "Many Americans are looking for ways to become more actively involved in their health care. Guardian's Wellness Program provides them with the tools they need to maintain health and control medical costs. Robust wellness benefits are especially important with the rising popularity of consumer-driven health care. As individuals take more control over their health care spending, they need to be armed with education and tools to help them make smart, well-informed decisions."

Enhanced Wellness Features

Guardian's enhanced Wellness Program complements existing benefits with valuable new features:

  • Online Health Assessment: After completing an online questionnaire, Guardian plan members receive suggested steps and activities to improve overall health. Questions include basics about height and weight, allergies, family health history, diet and nutrition, medications and much more. The information gathered in the health assessment is automatically stored in the member's Personal Health Record.

  • Personal Health Record (PHR): The online health assessment is automatically integrated and tracked in the Personal Health Record (PHR), a secure site which documents all of a member's health information in one place. Medical claims, lab results and prescription drug information are automatically included and are updated weekly. A handy "Health Tracker" tool enables members to track progress on a variety of health indicators over time. This information can be used with the member's physician to develop a systematic plan to meet health goals, assess progress and re-evaluate behavior, medications or other improvement tactics as necessary.

  • Rich Online Content and Personalized Messaging: An online health library makes it easy for members to research health issues and the website delivers personalized content to each member. "Care Alerts" are generated to members and their physicians to inform them of issues, including potentially harmful drug interactions or conflicts in care that may arise when members seek care from multiple health care providers.

  • Onsite Biometric Screening (Optional Service): Offered through Quest Diagnostics for a fee, technicians will participate in benefits fairs and other onsite events to perform valuable health screenings. Biometric measurements and blood samples can be taken to help identify controllable health risks early, when they are more easily treated.

These newest features complement Guardian's existing Wellness benefits, which include a 24/7 nurse hotline, high-risk nurse outreach, fitness club discounts and an extensive online health library.

"These latest enhancements demonstrate Guardian's commitment to empowering Americans to become more active consumers of health care," said Bireley. "Employers benefit as well when their employees take advantage of wellness resources. Healthy employees are more productive at work and have lower claims experience, which can help control medical plan costs over time."

The Guardian Wellness Program is available to all Guardian medical plans, except those that are self-administered. Members can access their personalized plan benefits easily through www.GuardianAnytime.com.

Guardian medical plans are not available in all states.

About Guardian

The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), one of the largest and oldest mutual life insurance companies in the United States, is known for its stability and strength. A Fortune 300 company, Guardian is the only major life insurer to earn upgrades from two major rating agencies in 2008: A++ (Superior) by A.M. Best and AA+ (Very Strong) by Standard & Poor's. Guardian also has retained ratings of Aa2 (Excellent) by Moody's and AA+ (Very Strong) by Fitch (ratings current as of April, 2009).

Founded nearly 150 years ago, Guardian and its subsidiaries are committed to protecting individuals, business owners and their employees with life, long term care insurance, disability income and dental insurance products, and offer 401(k), annuities and other financial products and trust services.

Guardian operates one of the largest dental networks in the United States, and protects more than six million employees and their families at 120,000 companies. The company has more than 5,400 employees in the United States and a network of over 3,000 financial representatives in more than 80 agencies nationwide.

For more information about Guardian, please visit: www.GuardianLife.com.


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SOURCE The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
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