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Independence Blue Cross Honored for Immunization Program
Date:11/6/2008

AHIP Acknowledges Success of the Innovative Program Targeting Adolescents

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) will recognize Independence Blue Cross (IBC) for its innovative and targeted efforts to encourage adolescents to get the important, recommended immunizations they need to maintain good health. These immunizations protect against dangerous, infectious diseases like meningitis and HPV, a virus that causes cervical cancer. More than 80 percent of IBC's eligible, adolescent members got these vaccinations in 2006 and participation continues to rise.

AHIP's annual Medical Leadership Forum, in Naples, Florida, November 5 - 7, will highlight how IBC significantly improved the vaccination rate among its HMO adolescent members between 2005 and 2006. IBC's Adolescent Immunization Program, introduced in 2001, targets children ages 11 to 13 and includes annual reminder mailings for over 78,000 families in its service area. By targeting these families and their children for five years from 2001 to 2006, IBC's program surpassed the rates of 90 percent of all health plans that report to the NCQA (National Committee for Quality Assurance) for adolescent immunizations. The NCQA is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality.

"Maintaining the health of our members of all ages is at the core of our corporate mission, and that includes making children and teenagers aware of the need to get important immunizations," said Dr. Esther Nash, senior medical director of Population Health and Wellness at IBC. "It's one of the many ways we convey to members that we're here for them every step of the way."

Along with the annual mailings, IBC also:

-- Created Gen-Y, a web-based interactive tool that helps parents, adolescents, and young children learn about the importance of immunizations and other health topics.

-- Developed incentive programs to encourage parents and kids to get vaccines by offering tickets to the Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Zoo, Franklin Institute, or movies and by sponsoring contests to win MP-3 players and Nintendo Wii systems.

-- Partnered with physicians to stay abreast of their patients' immunization schedules by offering updates to medical guidelines and helpful resources found on IBC's website.

-- Collaborated with school nurses to promote the importance of immunizations among children and adolescents.

Joy-Pauline Binns of IBC's Population Health and Wellness program will accept the Adolescent Immunization Recognition Award on behalf of the company. Following the ceremony, AHIP will display information about IBC's innovative program successes at the conference, in addition to the Innovation in Immunization Practices section of its website.

Immunizations are the single most effective protection against diseases that threaten children - they are equally important in the adolescent years and later in life. That is why IBC continues to support and promote the importance of adolescent immunizations and those immunizations for members at all stages of their lives. General information on immunizations is available through IBC's corporate website, http://www.ibx.com, and member portal, http://www.ibxpress.com, while other specific immunization campaigns for influenza and pneumococcal are conducted annually in the fall. Members may also contact a Health Coach at any time for specific information on immunization schedules, vaccines, and other health concerns.

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in Southeastern Pennsylvania. IBC and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.4 million people. For 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.


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SOURCE Independence Blue Cross
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