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WellPoint Announces Collaborative Partnership to Expand Access to Health Care Provider Information
Date:12/16/2008

INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP), the nation's largest health benefits company by medical membership, today announced plans to collaboratively partner with four Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield plans across the country to provide access to online, consumer-friendly health care cost information.

The health plans participating with WellPoint in this initiative are Highmark Inc. (Pennsylvania), Premera Blue Cross (Washington), Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Through the partnership, these Blue plans will provide the total estimated cost ranges associated with 39 specific medical procedures performed at a local hospital, outpatient surgery center, free-standing radiology facility or other medical facility.

"An essential step in transforming consumers' role in their own health care decisions is to provide access to clear information about health care cost and quality," said Angela F. Braly, president and CEO, WellPoint, Inc. "Our goal is always to work collectively with other Blue plans to enhance the offerings and programs available throughout the country."

Ranges of health care cost information will initially be rolled out on a limited basis in each of these states. The estimated cost ranges provided through this partnership are based on combining related services typically performed at each facility at the time of the procedure, not just the procedure itself. In addition, the cost ranges are facility-specific so members can compare the differences in cost between area facilities.

The cost range information is based directly on each Blue plans' claims paid data over the past 12 months, providing consumers with access to more accurate and timely information about the cost associated with each of the 39 procedures. The d
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SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.
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