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Press Release

Independence Blue Cross Enhances Member Site with WebMD Health Information, Resources

Personalized Self-Service Site Helps Members Take Charge of Their Health

Philadelphia, PA - November 12, 2009 - Imagine having your health care information at your fingertips, in one convenient place. No more surfing the Internet to find reliable, personalized, information. Independence Blue Cross (IBC) announces the launch of an enhanced member website at, which offers one convenient source for members' health care needs.

Through a collaboration between IBC and WebMD, one of the most recognized brands of health information, IBC members can now access clinically accurate, relevant health care information with ease. The site uses the latest technology and WebMD's trusted health resources.

"We are very excited about the launch of our new, enhanced member website,," said Joseph A. Frick, president and chief executive officer of Independence Blue Cross. "The Internet has changed the way people make decisions. They have become comfortable with using the web for other aspects of their lives - banking, travel arrangements, and major purchases. The same trend is evident in health care. More health care consumers are taking a proactive role in their health, especially as they better understand the connection between health care costs and lifestyle choices."

"Our customers are asking us for resources and tools to help them make decisions to live healthier, more fulfilling lives, and we are delivering. This new portal will offer our members leading edge content, tools, and interactive learning opportunities to help them make the right choices for good health. We are passionate about empowering our members and providing them the new and progressive to make managing their health online as easy and familiar to them as banking online," Frick said.

"As health care reform puts a spotlight on people's role in healthy living, it is more important than ever that we help educate our members so they can make informed decisions about their health. We think they will like what they find as they discover all that now offers," Frick added. leverages IBC's consumer website experience and WebMD's proven technology and expertise in personalized health information services. By providing tools targeted for specific health situations, helps IBC members better manage physician visits, monitor prescription drugs they use, easily find a doctor or hospital equipped for their needs, learn more about the risks and rewards of various health decisions, and use interactive applications to improve their lifestyles.

"Many of our members already use the Internet to find information about health conditions, and check their symptoms," said I. Steven Udvarhelyi, chief medical officer for Independence Blue Cross. "By combining health management resources from WebMD with IBC's member-specific information and medical and prescription drug data, the enhanced better meets members' individual health needs."

IBC can send targeted messages to members based on their preferences, conditions, or demographics. For example, a member who expresses interest in losing weight can receive helpful tips and articles focused on diet, exercise and nutrition to improve her health.

IBC members will appreciate the interactive learning opportunities and practical features available from the new portal:

  • a personal health risk profile that provides personalized reports and action plans targeted to the member's individual risk factors to help them adopt healthier behaviors;
  • lifestyle improvement programs on nutrition, smoking cessation, exercise, weight management, and stress management;
  • a treatment cost estimator that helps members estimate costs for hundreds of common conditions, procedures, tests, and health care visits;
  • the WebMD Medical Encyclopedia, which explains medical terms  in an easy-to-understand, consumer-friendly manner;
  • physician and hospital finder tools enable members to find participating providers and compare hospitals by location and quality outcomes.

Employer group customers, more than ever before, are asking IBC for help in promoting healthy lifestyles in order to help them manage health costs, Dr. Udvarhelyi explained. Member empowerment in health care ties directly to the bottom line. He said employers are 'getting it' and want to encourage their employees to take an active role in changing behaviors and managing their health.

IBC's enhanced consumer portal is free, easy to use, and secure. In addition to the enhanced features, members will still be able to:

  • review claims and obtain tax-year reports;
  • view payment responsibility reports, which show how much IBC paid for a claim and any amounts the member may owe;
  • request and print temporary ID cards;
  • view and print referrals as needed.

"With enhanced consumer tools available 24/7 for self-service, IBC is striving for optimum member health which results in better quality of life and ultimately medical cost savings," Dr. Udvarhelyi added. "In addition to our enhanced, we offer many other programs and services to help members take a more active role in their health and become better informed health care consumers."

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.3 million people. For more than 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Independence Blue Cross supports comprehensive health care reform that would extend coverage to all Americans, reduce costs, and improve quality. We also advocate reform that builds on the current employer-based system that currently serves 170 million Americans. Learn more about our views on health care legislation now working its way through Congress by visiting our website.

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