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Highmark Blue Shield Introduces New Health Plan Comparison Tool for Consumers
Date:9/10/2007

Plan Cost Advisor helps consumers determine out-of-pocket health care costs

CAMP HILL, Pa., Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Highmark Blue Shield has introduced a new tool to help consumers compare health plan options and choose one that best suits their needs. The Plan Cost Advisor is available to consumers on Highmark member Web sites.

"Choosing a health plan is often intimidating to consumers," said Kim Bellard, Vice President of eMarketing and Customer Relationship Management. "This is especially true now that consumers are more likely to be faced with not just increased cost-sharing but also various types of tax-preferred spending accounts, such as health savings accounts (HSAs). The Plan Cost Advisor helps consumers model their estimated out-of-pocket spending for the different health plan options they may have."

To begin using the Plan Cost Advisor, consumers enter basic information about family, health conditions and health plan options. Plan Cost Advisor analyzes the information that is entered by the consumer and projects the next year's medical spending for each health plan option with a breakdown for copays, deductibles and coinsurance.

The tool then shows consumers estimated out-of-pocket spending, taking into account any payroll contributions as well as any benefit cost-sharing for each health plan option entered. Plan Cost Advisor also helps users with HSAs or other spending accounts model the impacts of various contributions to the account.

"Highmark was a pioneer in giving consumers online tools to help them more effectively select the right health plan when we introduced BlueChoice in May 2000," said Bellard. "Plan Cost Advisor further leverages our consumerism expertise and our health analytics capabilities to produce an additional way for consumers to have a greater hand in their health care decisions."

Highmark has an ongoing commitment to its members to give them tools to make the right health care decisions. Highmark continues to look for new and better ways to empower its members.

About Highmark Blue Shield

As one of the state's leading health insurers and with nearly 70 years of community involvement, Highmark Blue Shield helps members live longer, healthier lives by ensuring access to affordable, high quality health insurance and services. Highmark offers the widest range of products, access to all area hospitals and the most responsive customer service. Highmark exerts an enormous economic impact throughout Pennsylvania. A recent study states that Highmark's positive impact exceeded $2.5 billion. Employing more than 5,000 people in central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley, Highmark provides the resources to give its members a greater hand in their health.

Highmark Blue Shield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information about Highmark Blue Shield, visit http://www.highmark.com.


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SOURCE Highmark Blue Shield
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