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WellPoint Announces Innovative Program to Help Improve the Care of Members Suffering With Bipolar Disorder
Date:1/6/2009

INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP), the nation's largest health benefits company and its affiliated health plans, announced today the expansion of its innovative disease management program designed to help improve the care accessed by members in its affiliated health plans suffering from Bipolar Disorder, a disease that impacts over 5.7 million Americans each year. The Bipolar Condition Care Program will help facilitate treatment adherence and knowledge of their illness for members with Bipolar Disorder.

Administered through Health Management Corporation (HMC), a nationally recognized leader in integrated care and total health solutions and a subsidiary of WellPoint, the new program seeks to help members who suffer from Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic depression, achieve their optimal health through education and care management support. WellPoint affiliated health plans in Colorado and California initially piloted the Bipolar Condition Care Program, and as a result of their success, the program was rolled out to seven additional affiliated health plans in the fourth quarter of 2008 in Nevada, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Georgia.

The Bipolar Condition Care Program was created to help members with Bipolar Disorder access effective treatment. Medication adherence is a critical component in effectively treating Bipolar Disorder, impacting the member's short-term recovery and long-term stability as well as the overall cost of care associated with psychiatric and medical treatment.

"Bipolar Disorder is a treatable condition that can be managed through education, lifestyle changes, supportive therapy, and medication," said Joan Kennedy, president of HMC and senior vice president of WellPoint. "By giving members access to the tools and support they need to make informed health care and lifestyle choices, we are empowering members to take control of their health care needs and increase medication compliance, thereby helping to decrease hospitalizations, reduce cost of care and improve their overall quality of life."

Those who sign up for the voluntary program are offered a continuum of interventions ranging from education to close monitoring by a behavioral health clinician. The Bipolar Disease Management Program's proprietary tracking system mails educational information to members and physicians, manages staff refill reminder calls to members, and maintains the members' refill and case management history. The program uses daily pharmacy claims to identify members who are late in refilling their Bipolar medications. Care managers will also provide the support necessary to increase member adherence to a physician-prescribed treatment plan.

Members are identified for inclusion into the program through clinical reviews and pharmacy reports and are organized based on the severity of their condition. Members 18 years of age and older who have a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and who fill a medication used to treat Bipolar Disorder are eligible for voluntary enrollment in the Bipolar Condition Care Program.

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 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 Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as Empire Blue Cross or Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield 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.

About HMC:

Founded in 1983, HMC is a wholly owned subsidiary of WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP) and one of the nation's largest and most experienced leaders in providing total health solutions for employers, health plans and government entities. HMC's innovative programs and services help people become better educated and more engaged in their health care, whether they're fit and healthy, at risk for developing a chronic condition or living with illness. With a fully integrated and population-based approach to health care that includes prevention, health and wellness, disease management and complex care, HMC is working to build healthier lives and communities. Visit HMC at http://www.choosehmc.com.


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SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.
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