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AIM Honored for Innovative Program That Helps Consumers Make Better Choices About Their Care
Date:12/14/2011

CHICAGO, Dec. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) has recognized WellPoint, Inc. and its subsidiary AIM, a leading specialty benefit management company, for their development of a concierge-type program that delivers pricing and capability information directly to providers and health plan members, enabling more informed decision making and significant cost savings.   

WellPoint and AIM were jointly awarded the Best of Blue Clinical Distinction Award for the Imaging Cost and Quality Program, a consumer engagement tool that helps to address the wide variance in pricing across outpatient imaging sites. The Best of Blue Clinical Distinction Award program, created as a collaboration between BCBSA and the Harvard Medical School Department of Health Care Policy, recognizes Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies for programs demonstrating innovation, efficacy and a potential for replication.

"Advanced diagnostic imaging exams are very expensive and often patients and their physicians are not aware that price can vary dramatically depending on where the exam is performed," said Brandon Cady, president and chief executive officer of AIM. "Our program helps deliver cost and quality information directly into the hands of consumers at the point in which decisions about where to receive care are being made, enabling them to make better choices while also creating significant financial value."

The Imaging Cost and Quality Program works as part of the clinical appropriateness review process. When a provider goes through the prior authorization process for an imaging exam, AIM provides price and capability information that can be used by the physician to select an imaging facility. After the review process is completed, AIM compares the price and capability scoring for the imaging facility selected during the review process with other facilities located in the same geographic area. If the program finds another facility that offers comparable or better capabilities at a lower price, an AIM representative proactively calls the consumer to provide information on site options. While wholly voluntary, if the consumer decides to switch to an alternative imaging facility for the exam, AIM provides assistance in scheduling the service.

The Imaging Cost and Quality Program was piloted with a WellPoint affiliated health plan's members in the Indianapolis region where the cost variance for CT scans was more than $1,000 in many instances, while the variance for more expensive MRI procedures was almost $2,000. Since the initial launch in December 2010, the pilot has redirected more than 1,500 cases, producing an estimated savings of over $1.6 million or $0.25-0.50 per member per month. The program will roll out to additional markets throughout 2012.

"We are honored to be recognized by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association for our commitment to improving the quality and cost effectiveness of health care services," said Cady. "As consumers become more engaged in their health care, having accurate, timely and relevant information that can be used to support decision making is critical. AIM's program has demonstrated that it can play a positive role in empowering individuals to become more informed health care consumers."

For more information on the AIM study visit: www.americanimaging.net

About WellPoint, Inc.

WellPoint works to simplify the connection between Health, Care and Value. We help to improve the health of our members and our communities, and provide greater value to our customers and shareholders. WellPoint is one of the nation's largest health benefits companies, with 34 million members in its affiliated health plans, and a total of more than 66 million individuals served through its subsidiaries. As an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, WellPoint serves 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.), and Wisconsin. In a majority of these service areas, WellPoint's plans do business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, or Empire Blue Cross (in the New York service areas). WellPoint also serves customers throughout the country as UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at http://www.wellpoint.com/.

About American Imaging Management (AIM)

AIM is a leading specialty benefit management company with over 20 years of experience in the radiology benefit management industry. AIM's mission is to make healthcare services more clinically appropriate, safer and more affordable. AIM promotes the most appropriate use of diagnostic imaging through the application of widely accepted clinical guidelines delivered through an innovative platform of technologies and services. AIM pioneered the use of web self-service technology in diagnostic imaging management and has continually integrated technology tools to create a more effective and efficient clinical review processes in support of the physician-patient relationship. AIM also manages a growing platform of healthcare services including cardiac services and specialty pharmaceuticals. Through a commitment to delivering excellence in clinical content, service, innovation and operational performance, AIM has developed a national client base of health plans, and currently provides its services to more than 35 million health plan members. AIM is an operating subsidiary of WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP; www.wellpoint.com). For more information on AIM, please visit http://www.americanimaging.net.


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SOURCE American Imaging Management, Inc.
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