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WellPoint Adjusts Health and Pharmacy Guidelines for Members in Texas and Louisiana Affected by Hurricane Ike

Free telephonic counseling and a 24-hour Nurse Helpline established for

impacted members

INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- WellPoint (NYSE: WLP) today announced revised medical and pharmacy guidelines to help members who are directly impacted by Hurricane Ike. In addition, a 24-hour nurse helpline -- 1-866-417-7107 -- has been established to assist members.

The revised guidelines will help members who are impacted by Hurricane Ike access needed medical care and prescription drugs.

Members affected by the hurricane should seek medical assistance wherever it is available and have their medications refilled at any pharmacy or shipped to them at an alternative address.

In addition, from Sept. 12 through Sept. 19, 2008, for members evacuating from Texas and Louisiana, all providers caring for affected members will be considered "in-network" providers, and affected members will not be required to satisfy prior authorization, pre-certification or referral requirements during this time.

These revisions apply to affected members living in Texas and Louisiana who are under a mandatory evacuation and who are covered by UniCare, WellPoint NextRx and WellPoint affiliated health plans in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Wisconsin and Virginia. More information on WellPoint's affiliated health plans can be found at .

For impacted members, WellPoint is:

-- Suspending requirements for prior authorization and pre-certification.

-- Suspending requirements for authorization or referral from a primary care physician.

-- Allowing the affected members to see any physician necessary to provide access to care.

-- Paying all claims as in-network, regardless of whether or not the health care provider is in network.

-- Suspending early refill limits and shipping prescriptions to members at alternative addresses.

-- Suspending utilization management (UM) review of in-hospital cases.

These medical and pharmacy guidelines are effective Sept. 12 through Sept. 19, 2008. At that time, it will be determined if these guidelines need to be extended.

WellPoint's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is offering free telephonic counseling and referral services for the next 30 days to all members in the areas impacted by the hurricane. Services include access to a resource-rich Web site and telephonic consultations with professional counselors. The EAP program is available 24 hours a day by calling, toll-free, 1-800-765-4446, or by logging into the EAP member Web site at and entering the password "hurricane."

For additional questions, members should call the phone number on the back of their membership card. If they do not have their card, they should call 1- 866-417-7107.

About WellPoint:

WellPoint, Inc. is the largest health benefits company in terms of medical membership in the United States. WellPoint is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and serves its members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (serving Virginia excluding the city of Fairfax, the town of Vienna and the area east of State Route 123), Wisconsin; and through UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at

SOURCE WellPoint
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