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WellPoint Announces Decision to Cover H1N1 Vaccine Administration
Date:7/30/2009

INDIANAPOLIS, July 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP) announced today that it will offer coverage for the administration of the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine when it becomes commercially available to the general public. The vaccine administration will be covered for members whose benefit plans provide coverage for vaccines.

WellPoint will also continue coverage of seasonal flu vaccine administration for those whose health plans offer vaccine coverage. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that the H1N1 vaccine is not intended to replace the seasonal flu vaccine. Seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines may be administered on the same day, according to the CDC.

The decision to cover the H1N1 vaccine administration is based on formal recommendations announced this week by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. ACIP recommended initial prioritization for those administering the vaccine for five key populations, including:

  • pregnant women,
  • people who live with or care for children younger than six months of age,
  • health care and emergency services personnel,
  • children and young adults from 6 months old to 24 years old, and
  • people from 25 through 64 years old if they have chronic medical conditions that increase their risk of complications from influenza infection.

ACIP also provided guidance regarding high risk groups to be targeted in the event of a significant shortage of vaccine as well as recommendations for the rest of the general population if the supply of vaccine exceeds the needs of the target groups.

WellPoint's immunization policy decisions are based on recommendations issued by ACIP and other nationally recognized organizations. ACIP is composed of 15 experts in fields associated with immunization who provide advice and guidance to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and CDC on the most effective means to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases.

Vaccine administration is covered for members whose benefit plans provide coverage for vaccines. Policyholders should confirm their specific benefits by calling the toll-free telephone number listed on their insurance card.

About WellPoint, Inc.

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 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 (excluding the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), Wisconsin; and through UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at www.wellpoint.com.


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SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.
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