Innovative Health Plan Earns Top Grades from New York Office of Health Insurance Programs.

Imagine receiving postcards from your health insurer, reminding you that your child needs immunizations, or that, because you have diabetes, you’re due for an examination. And when was the last time your health insurer called to tell you it’s time for a mammogram or an eye doctor visit, and then stayed on the phone to help you set up an appointment?

That’s the level of service Hudson Health Plan members experience, which is part of the reason why Hudson ranked highest in the 2009 Quality Incentive Program, the annual grading of Medicaid managed care plans by the New York State Department of Health (DOH.)

Georganne Chapin, president and CEO of Hudson, said, “Our model is to deliver cost-effective care — in a culturally appropriate way — to the communities we serve. We always knew that we were the best, but now we have the numbers to prove it.”

The DOH’s Office of Health Insurance Programs annually assesses all 20 Medicaid managed care plans in the State. Hudson scored 135.5 out of 150 points, for a final score of 90 percent. The plan with the next highest score had a final grade of 79 percent. The emphasis of the annual assessment is on quality of care, and this year’s benchmarks focused on several measures, including advising smokers to quit, annual dental visits for ages 2-18, controlling high blood pressure, breast cancer screening, and annual monitoring of patients on persistent medications. Hudson achieved a perfect score in customer satisfaction.

“All of the outreach programs we have put into place over the years, including our mailings, our phone calls to members, and our education programs for health care professionals, have really impacted our scores,” says Margaret Leonard, senior vice president of clinical services at Hudson. “All these initiatives contribute to the overall health and well-being of our members.”

Founded in the mid-1980s by a coalition of community health centers, Hudson Health Plan’s mission statement is “to promote and provide access to excellent health services for all people.” The Tarrytown-based not-for-profit organization provides comprehensive medical and dental coverage to more than 90,000 members in New York’s Hudson Valley. Hudson Health Plan has been driving health care innovation by developing technology to support clinical quality initiatives and streamline the enrollment process for Medicaid Managed Care, Child Health Plus, and Family Health Plus.

Source: Hudson Health Plan

Diabetes Population to Double, Diabetes Costs to Nearly Triple, in 25 Years, New Study Shows.

Findings Underscore Urgent Need to Reform CBO Scoring of Preventive Care

The diabetes population in the United States will almost double over the next 25 years and annual medical spending on the disease is projected to hit $336 billion, up from $113 billion today, according to a study published in the December issue of Diabetes Care. The National Changing Diabetes® Program (NCDP), a program of Novo Nordisk, commissioned the analysis by a team from the University of Chicago.

According to the forecast, the number of Americans living with diabetes will rise from 23.7 million in 2009 to 44.1 million in 2034. For the Medicare program, the increases over the next 25 years are even more dramatic: the number of Americans living with diabetes and covered by Medicare will rise from 6.5 million to 14.1 million, and Medicare spending on diabetes will almost quadruple, skyrocketing from $45 billion this year to $171 billion in 2034. Based on this projection, “Medicare spending alone will represent just over 50% of direct spending on diabetes in 2034,” the authors concluded.

Factors not used in government budget analysts

Unlike past efforts to predict trends in diabetes, the model developed by the University of Chicago team considers the natural progression of the disease, effects of treatment and obesity rates in the United States, which are “factors that are currently not used by government budget analysts,” according to the authors.

“Obesity is a significant driver of future increases in the number of Americans with diabetes,” said Michael O’Grady, Ph.D., one of the study authors and a senior fellow at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. “While our modeling, as well as that done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, project obesity rates leveling off, neither model has obesity rates lowering substantially. High obesity rates among the American population over an extended period of time substantially increases the probability of developing type 2 diabetes.”

This forecasting model, which the authors contend improves the rigor of the estimates of health care spending for diabetes, was designed to inform policymakers as they explore ways to control spiraling health care costs. Currently, official government estimates of the potential costs and cost offsets associated with proposed preventive health legislation do not consider savings that may occur more than 10 years out, thus providing an incomplete view of preventive health measures as an investment.

“The size of the current diabetes population exceeds many prior forecasts and we expect that the future growth of population and its associated costs will be explosive. Finding ways to reduce the number of people who develop diabetes is both a national public health priority and a fiscal imperative,” said Dr. Elbert Huang, the lead author of the paper and an assistant professor of medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago. “The best way to stem the dramatic rise in diabetes is to implement proven preventive care programs on a national level. This will require that policymakers understand that diabetes prevention is a long-term investment that will only reap benefits over decades, not years.”

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which assesses the cost of proposed legislation, does not typically consider any cost savings beyond 10 years. Because diabetes develops over a long period of time, with the highest costs coming later in life of the disease, savings are far more apparent at 25 years than at 10 years. For this reason, policymakers need a long-term analysis of costs in order to make accurate decisions that reflect the true impact of prevention programs.

“Managing diabetes means preventing the pain and expense of diabetes complications, including heart disease, amputation, kidney disease, and blindness,” said Michael Mawby, Chief Government Affairs Officer and director of the NCDP, a diabetes leadership initiative established by Novo Nordisk to drive health systems change at the national and local level, which funded the research. “Therefore, it is critical that lawmakers see the long-term projections of the impact of diabetes interventions.”

Legislation introduced earlier this year is designed to lead to a more accurate assessment of the costs and benefits of preventive health, including preventing complications and delaying progression of chronic diseases such as diabetes. The bipartisan Preventive Health Savings Act of 2009 (HR 3148), calls on the CBO to weigh clinical or observational studies when modeling projected costs and savings related to preventive health, and in certain circumstances, to look beyond the traditional 10-year budget window.

About the National Changing Diabetes® Program

The National Changing Diabetes® Program (NCDP) is a multi-faceted initiative that brings together leaders in diabetes and policy to improve the lives of people with diabetes. NCDP strives to create change in the U.S. health care system to provide dramatic improvement in the prevention and care of diabetes. Launched in 2005, NCDP is a program of Novo Nordisk. For more information, please visit www.ncdp.com.

About Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk is a healthcare company with an 86-year history of innovation and achievement in diabetes care. The company has the broadest diabetes product portfolio in the industry, including the most advanced products within the area of insulin delivery systems. In addition to diabetes care, Novo Nordisk has a leading position within areas such as hemostasis management, growth hormone therapy, and hormone therapy for women. Novo Nordisk’s business is driven by the Triple Bottom Line: a commitment to social responsibility to employees and customers, environmental soundness and economic success. With headquarters in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs more than 27,550 employees in 81 countries, and markets its products in 179 countries. Novo Nordisk’s B shares are listed on the stock exchanges in Copenhagen and London. Its ADRs are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘NVO’. For global information, visit novonordisk.com; for United States information, visit novonordisk-us.com.

Source: National Changing Diabetes Program

New USB Technology Adds Accountability and Convenience to Wellness Programs.

Uploadable USB pedometers may be new, but they’re already seeing prime time in wellness. A combination of advanced accelerometer functionality and automated data upload are solving a long term concern over the accuracy of self-reported data. It’s now possible to accurately gauge and reward improved participation in a fitness program.

walking-pedometerCoreHealth Technologies is one of the first wellness suppliers to integrate this technology. “Our health challenges are easy to administer and participate in… an inspirational approach that has proven effective,” comments CEO Anne Marie Kirby, “but USB pedometers add a whole new dimension. Users simply plug the pedometer into the computer, a greeting comes up asking if the steps are to be uploaded, and then the website opens to show the participants their achievement in the health challenge. It’s the ultimate in convenience. Anyone can do it.”

CoreHealth’s motivational software for online fitness, weight loss, nutrition, and other challenges is used throughout the world by organizations with 1000 or more employees. Participants have used pedometers before, but never with such convenience. “We find pedometers can increase success,” states Jeff Goreski, Implementation Specialist. “Now participants can be fully engaged regardless of age or computer skill. This new technology has opened wide doors for prevention.”

The USB pedometers use specialized technology exclusive to Pacific Rim Wellness. A full week of steps information is retained within the device, so people don’t have to upload daily to accurately report, and a new accelerometer monitors and stores fitness intensity. Users simply connect to the computer once a week to update their personal fitness record. “Pedometers now offer uncompromised accountability and accuracy for health and wellness programs,” comments Pacific Rim Wellness administrator Robert Dyke.

“Our greatest concern was affordability,” Anne Marie explained. “Our total wellness package sells to large employers and insurers for only $10 per participant, and that’s for a whole year! We couldn’t have a costly pedometer option, but we needed the advanced functionality. Pacific Rim Wellness had the exclusive technology and an aggressive price point.”

Technology is fast integrating with wellness for robust programs today’s businesses can afford. “Our clients generate as much as $25 return for every $1 investment,” states Anne Marie, “that is a significant improvement in a company’s ability to compete. Still, many organizations rely on insurers, EAPs, and health providers for their wellness. These suppliers have long sought verifiable accuracy in the programs they fund. Now they have it.”

Source: CoreHealth Technologies Inc.

It’s Black Friday – Time to Shop Off the Calories! Average Thanksgiving Meal Weighed in at 2,225 Calories.

Iowa and Minnesota Served the Healthiest Thanksgiving Feast While South Carolina Indulged

Photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt

Photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt

Allrecipes.com, the world’s #1 food site, received record-high Thanksgiving traffic numbers, with more than 2.8 million visitors the day before Thanksgiving, providing a clear picture of what was served on the biggest food holiday of the year. The average Thanksgiving meal in 2009 weighed in at 2,225 calories per serving, a 5 percent increase from last year’s feast. According to the Allrecipes site, Sweet Potato Pie I stole the show as the most popular Thanksgiving recipe, a contrast from last year’s popular Homestyle Turkey the Michigander Way.

Not all Americans will need to do as much walking on Black Friday as others. Allrecipes reports that Iowa and Minnesota tied for the most calorie conscious-fares. With an average of 1,797 calories per serving, they consumed 428 fewer calories than the average state and 893 fewer calories compared to the most indulgent state, South Carolina which consumed 2,690 calories on average. Iowa and Minnesota’s most popular recipe was Libby’s® Famous Pumpkin Pie totaling 283 calories per serving; South Carolina satisfied their sweet tooth with Sweet Potato Pie I which totals 389 calories per serving.

“We saw a 24% traffic increase compared to 2008 and are unbelievably thankful to everyone who trusted our site to help them prepare one of the most important meals of the year,” said Lisa Sharples, president of Allrecipes. “As the top online resource for home cooks, it’s important for us to support our community during such a food-centric holiday. We were pleased to do that and this year and especially delighted to be able to interact with our community via our first ever live webcast.”

Allrecipes Live Webcast

Allrecipes executed an inaugural pre-Thanksgiving webcast on Wednesday, Nov. 25, to help viewers prepare for the biggest food holiday of the year. The webcast was filmed live from Allrecipes’ Seattle kitchen where Allrecipes staff demonstrated how to cook a variety of holiday recipes including those featured in its Thanksgiving Budget Menu for Eight, answered home cooks’ questions live throughout the day via Facebook and Twitter, and provided cooking and entertaining tips and tricks. The high-tech version of a “turkey hotline” was viewed by people in more than 160 countries, receiving more than 23,000 visits.

About Allrecipes

Allrecipes, the world’s #1 food site, receives more than 300 million annual visits from home cooks who discover and share food ideas through user-generated recipes, reviews, photos, profiles, blogs, and meal ideas. For more than 13 years, the Seattle-based site has served as a dynamic, indispensable resource for cooks of all skill levels seeking trusted recipes, party ideas, everyday and holiday meal solutions, practical cooking tips, and food advice. As the fastest growing food site, Allrecipes provides insights into the cooking behaviors of home cooks everywhere. Since 2008, Allrecipes has launched localized versions for the United Kingdom/Ireland, Australia/New Zealand, France, Germany, China, Japan, Quebec, the Netherlands, Southeast Asia, and Brazil. Allrecipes is the publisher of Allrecipes Dinner Spinner, the #1 food app for the iPhone with versions for the U.S., UK, Australia, France, and Germany. Allrecipes is part of Food & Entertaining @RDA, a division of The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. For additional information regarding Allrecipes, please visit www.allrecipes.com.

Source: Allrecipes.com

Web Site: http://allrecipes.com/

The Doctor Will See You Now. . . Online.

Innovation Alert!

BREWER, Maine, Nov. 24 /PRNewswire/ — Thanks to an innovative program recently developed between Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems (EMHS) and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine, some Anthem members in Bangor and Presque Isle can now “visit” their physician without leaving home.

As part of the pilot, Anthem members are able to send health related messages and questions and communicate via email with their provider about non-emergent issues, in addition to scheduling appointments, checking on test results, or requesting prescription refills.

“This program provides yet another way for individuals to interact with their physician for non-urgent health issues,” said Iyad Sabbagh, M.D., lead physician at Husson Internal Medicine in Bangor. “We feel it will offer our patients greater ease of access to their doctor and help save time for both physician and patient.”

According to Vincent Liscomb, Jr., Executive Director, Provider Engagement and Contracting, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine, the initial phase of the program will involve primary care physicians PCPs at selected primary care practices at Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) in Bangor and The Aroostook Medical Center (TAMC) in Presque Isle. “In addition to the added convenience,” Liscomb notes, “members who choose to use the pilot will not have co-pays.”

Liscomb adds that while the new service will benefit all patients, those who don’t always have access to reliable transportation, college students, or people who live out of the state for part of the year, will find the program particularly helpful.

EMMC and TAMC – both members of EMHS – are also participating in a similar pilot with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Dr. Sabbagh said that EMHS staff has worked hard to develop a number of protocols to ensure the interactions are both secure and appropriate to a patient’s treatment plan. “This program is not meant to replace a face-to-face visit or annual exams, rather it supports the patient’s good health between regular office visits,” he said. “It’s also important to note that the program is for patients who already have an established relationship with their doctor and have been seen within the past year.”

Anthem members who currently see EMMC or TAMC primary care physicians should check to see if their provider is participating in the pilot.

“We’re excited to collaborate with EMHS in this pilot,” said Jeffrey Holmstrom, Medical Director, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. “We feel that this program has the potential to enhance patient access to their primary care physician, resulting in better care coordination, improved outcomes, and more efficient medical care.”

About Eastern Maine Health Services

EMHS is a passionate advocate; committed to helping the residents of the communities we serve have access to quality healthcare. By sharing resources and working together with each member organization, EMHS helps ensure that our aligned health providers have access to new technologies and the best medical protocols available, and the support they need to thrive. Together We’re Stronger!

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine is the trade name of Anthem Health Plans of Maine, Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine is available at www.anthem.com.

SOURCE Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine

HealthPlus Offers New Insurance Plans for Consumers Seeking Health Coverage on Their Own.

HealthPlus of Michigan is reporting that it has launched four new HealthPlus Signature insurance plans designed specifically for individuals 18 to 64 and their families who are looking to purchase affordable health coverage directly.

The new HealthPlus Signature plans are available online at www.HealthPlus.org, and through agents and brokers throughout the HealthPlus service area. More information, including help with purchasing, is also available by toll-free phone call to 1-877-562-0907.

“We are pleased to offer an array of new options for consumers who need to find affordable individual or family health insurance coverage in this difficult economy,” says Nancy Jenkins, HealthPlus vice president of membership growth. Jenkins notes that the HealthPlus Signature plans may be ideal for individuals who are:

  • being dropped from a parent’s employer-sponsored coverage
  • self-employed
  • facing a layoff
  • considering early retirement
  • losing their employer-sponsored health coverage
  • no longer eligible for their government-sponsored health coverage
  • between jobs or just starting a job

Consumers can choose from four types of HealthPlus Signature plans.

HealthPlus Signature One is designed for young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 with no dependents. It’s intended as a “starter plan” to meet the health coverage needs and budgets of recent high school or college graduates, those starting a career or looking for a job, and those who are no longer eligible under their parents’ coverage.

HealthPlus Signature Savings is compatible with tax-deductible Health Savings Accounts. The plan has a low monthly premium and members can add pharmacy or maternity coverage.

HealthPlus Signature Select is a traditional deductible plan designed for individuals and families. These plans also offer low premiums and optional pharmacy and maternity coverage.

HealthPlus Signature Network has a limited network of physicians, specialists and other health-care providers. This option works best for people who already have a doctor who contracts directly with HealthPlus.

Signature PPO plans are offered in Arenac, Bay, Clare, Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Gladwin, Gratiot, Huron, Ingham, Iosco, Isabella, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Midland, Montcalm, Oakland, Saginaw, Sanilac, Shiawassee, St. Clair, Tuscola, Washtenaw, and Wayne Counties.

The new plans represent the first major entry into the individual health insurance market for the 30-year-old nonprofit corporation, whose for-profit subsidiary – HealthPlus Insurance Company, Inc.- is offering the PPO-style coverage.

HealthPlus is recognized across Michigan and nationwide for designing attractive, affordable, and often award-winning health plans for business and government.

HealthPlus of Michigan – a nonprofit health-benefits company – along with its subsidiaries offers a comprehensive portfolio of PPO, HMO, and TPA health plans tailored to meet the needs of employers, families, individuals, and government (Medicare, Medicaid, MIChild, county health programs). Most HealthPlus benefit plans include access to extensive, online health, wellness and lifestyle resources.

HealthPlus’ commercial and Medicare HMOs have ranked among “America’s Best Health Plans”* by U.S. News & World Report for the past five years; its commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid plans have been accredited as “Excellent” by National Committee for Quality Assurance for the past 11, 9, and 7 consecutive years, respectively.

Founded in 1979, HealthPlus – with a staff of more than 400 at its Flint headquarters and regional offices in Saginaw and Troy – serves more than 200,000 people statewide. To advance its vision of building healthier communities, HealthPlus contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to more than 200 nonprofit organizations in the communities it serves.

*America’s Best Health Plans 2009-10 is a trademark of U.S. News & World Report.

SOURCE HealthPlus of Michigan

UnitedHealthcare Wins Innovation Award from National Business Coalition on Health for Programs that Improve Consumers’ Health.

The National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH) gave UnitedHealthcare a 2009 eValue8 Health Plan Innovation Award for programs that help engage physicians and patients to achieve better health outcomes.

National Business Coalition on HealthUnitedHealthcare’s Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) program and Diabetes Health Plan were recognized by the NBCH for their ability to help enhance health care safety and quality while reducing costs. Both initiatives use UnitedHealthcare’s industry-leading technology and data resources and integrate patient and physician information in order to help drive more informed health care decisions.

“UnitedHealthcare’s Patient-Centered Medical Home program and Diabetes Health Plan were selected because both are the kind of innovations that are significant drivers of health status,” said Dennis White, senior vice president of value based purchasing at NBCH. “Purchasers are very interested in innovations like these as they align incentives, restructure care delivery and provide tools that keep people healthy.”

“We are honored to receive this award from the National Business Coalition on Health as recognition that our company’s continued innovation is helping people live healthier lives. The Patient-Centered Medical Home and Diabetes Health Plan are examples of how consumer information and education, comprehensive program support, and financial incentives help physicians and patients tackle rising health care costs while driving better health outcomes,” said Sam Ho, M.D., UnitedHealthcare executive vice president and chief medical officer.

Coordinating Care At A “Medical Home”
UnitedHealthcare’s PCMH program involves primary care practices in Arizona, Colorado, Ohio, New York and Rhode Island and was developed in close collaboration with national primary care specialty societies including the American Academy of Physicians, American College of Physicians, American Osteopathic Association and American Academy of Pediatricians. In the PCMH model, patients receive coordinated care from their primary-care physician, or “medical home,” rather than fragmented and episodic care from various health care providers or facilities. The model promotes enhanced disease prevention and care of chronic conditions. It also emphasizes behavioral health support and patient education, not just the diagnosis and treatment of injury and illness.

UnitedHealthcare provides participating PCMH primary care practices with technology, infrastructure support and care-coordination services. These improved information systems are designed to enhance patient access to care; help improve the quality and safety of the care experience as well as the delivery of preventive and chronic care; and drive patient satisfaction. All medical home projects include innovative payment models to primary care physicians, derived from anticipated savings due to better coordination of care and prevention of complications in chronic diseases.

Diabetes Health Plan
UnitedHealthcare’s Diabetes Health Plan is designed to help employers control the escalating costs of insuring diabetic and pre-diabetic employees and their families while improving their health. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), one out of every five health care dollars is spent caring for someone diagnosed with diabetes, while one in 10 health care dollars is attributed directly to diabetes.

The first-of-its-kind Diabetes Health Plan goes further than traditional diabetes wellness programs by providing patients with financial incentives for adhering to certain routine preventive care compliance requirements such as having regular blood sugar checks, routine exams and preventive screenings, which can result in better self-management of their care. Plan benefits, which can include some free diabetes supplies and diabetes-related prescription drugs, as well as lower co-payments for related doctor visits, can potentially save individuals up to $500 a year in addition to their regular health care benefits.

In addition to helping people live healthier lives, the preventive steps under the Diabetes Health Plan can help significantly lower a diabetic employee’s total health care costs, which average more than $22,000 a year, according to UnitedHealthcare data.

About the National Business Coalition on Health and eValue8
NBCH is a national, non-profit, membership organization of 60 business and health coalitions, representing over 7,000 employers and 25 million employees and their dependents across the United States. NBCH and its members are dedicated to value-based purchasing of health care services through the collective action of public and private purchasers. eValue8™ is a product of the National Business Coalition on Health and is the nation’s leading evidence-based request for information (RFI) tool used by coalitions and major employers to assess and manage the quality of their health care vendors. For additional information visit: www.nbch.org.

About UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare (www.unitedhealthcare.com) provides a full spectrum of consumer-oriented health benefit plans and services to individuals, public sector employers and businesses of all sizes, including more than half of the Fortune 100 companies. The company organizes access to quality, affordable health care services on behalf of more than 25 million individual consumers, contracting directly with more than 600,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals to offer them broad, convenient access to services nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.

BlueCross Encourages Tennesseans to Join the Movement for Life.

Innovation Alert!

A revolution is going on in Tennessee. It starts with a few small steps—taking the stairs instead of the elevator, playing catch with the kids, parking a little further away from work. Eventually, these small steps can turn into bigger ones—going to the gym, riding a bike, competing in a sport. These activities are part of a new movement—the Movement for Life.

BCBST_logoWith Tennessee as one of the least healthy states in America, ranking 44th out of 50, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee recognizes the need for change and has launched a new campaign to encourage Tennesseans to improve their health and help reduce this statistic.

“Changing our lifestyles to live healthier lives is a big step for anyone,” said Janet McConnell, director of brand strategy and new media for BlueCross. “We can all take little steps and make small changes to improve our own health and as a result, the health of Tennessee.”

Movement for Life is about the everyday, incremental changes that lead to more substantial lifestyle improvements, eventually to a healthier life for all Tennesseans. The campaign includes television, radio, print ads and online advertising, as well as a Web site, MVMTforLife.com.

The interactive site provides all visitors a forum to make healthy proclamations in four categories including weight loss, fitness, smoking cessation and healthy community. It’s designed for all participants, not just BlueCross members, to declare their health and wellness goals and to serve as motivation and inspiration for each other.

BlueCross members can benefit from an additional feature—a virtual coach that will provide daily or weekly health tips on these four topics. Messages can be delivered via e-mail, a desktop widget, mobile text messaging and Facebook wall posts.

People can also become a fan of the Movement for Life on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/MVMTforLife/146232343004) and follow it on Twitter (www.twitter.com/MVMTforLife) to further encourage health and wellness conversations as well as communicating information about community-based sponsorships and programs.

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is the state’s oldest and largest not-for-profit health plan, serving nearly 3 million Tennesseans. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on financing affordable health care coverage and providing peace of mind for all Tennesseans. BlueCross serves its members by delivering quality health care products, services and information. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at www.bcbst.com.

The Most Popular Health Insurance Websites for Women.

Using Hitwise Lifestyle, which incorporates MOSAIC USA, a leading household segmentation system, it is possible to identify the m ost popular websites in an industry that attract a specific segment.

For example, the top three websites in the Health Insurance category that attracted the largest volume of women aged 25-44 in the “Suburban Optimists” segment were Kaiser Permanente, GroupHealth and CIGNA for the four weeks ending 11/07/09.

The Suburban Optimists Type represents middle-class diversity with its high concentration of Asian, Hawaiian and white residents. These consumers tend to spend their disposable income on technology products, buying the latest laptops, video game players and home theater systems. They also describe themselves as early adopters and influential leaders when it comes to consumer electronics. Suburban Optimists frequently watch cable TV networks such as VH1, MTV and Spike TV. Finally, they enjoy watching comedies, network dramas and reality shows like “That 70s Show,” “E.R.” and “American Idol.” Lifestyle data is available on over 30,000 websites.

To learn more about Hitwise Lifestyle, contact Hitwise.

Top Health Insurance Websites Visited by Women Aged 25-44 for the four weeks ending 11/07/09
RankSiteDomainGender %Age %Mosaic USA Type %
1.Kaiser Permanentewww.kaiserpermanente.org59.14%22.96%1.64%
2.GroupHealthwww.ghc.org67.65%26.62%0.84%
3.CIGNAwww.cigna.com51.20%35.05%0.65%
4.Delta Dental Insurance Companywww.deltadentalins.com53.22%18.49%1.00%
5.eHealthInsurancewww.ehealthinsurance.com56.75%36.18%0.46%

Source: Hitwise Intelligence Blogs

Experian Hitwise is the leading global online competitive intelligence service, helping clients protect and grow their market share through the application of internet measurement data. Experian Hitwise measures the largest sample of internet users – 25 million worldwide, including 10 million in the United States. This sample size allows clients to understand internet behavior and competitive activity through data that is unmatched in timeliness, depth and breadth.

Harvard Pilgrim Launches Social Networking e-Community to Inspire People to Be Well.

Innovation Alert!

Harvard Pilgrim today announced that it has launched a new, first-of-its-kind, online resource designed to encourage and stimulate conversations around achieving health and wellness. The social networking site, well, then, provides all people, Harvard Pilgrim members and non-members alike, with the opportunity to share information and stories about healthy living, thereby supporting and inspiring others to be as well as they can be.

LogoHarvardPilgrim1According to a release, well, then is a new way of thinking about health and wellbeing. Leveraging the power of social media, well, then is about real people in all stages of health and life, sharing information and recommendations to help one another reach the healthiest lifestyle possible. well, then was designed specifically with the consumer in mind, with nearly all of the content user-generated. Visitors are encouraged to create a profile on the site, develop a wellbeing plan and browse other user profiles to find and connect with like-minded people or find new ways to think about making their lives even better. Participants can post content on a wide range of topics, including physical activity, work and wellbeing, stress reduction, healthy weight and eating, family health, and sleeping habits, exchanging information through personal stories, video content, photos, messages and more. By connecting and sharing with others, participants have the opportunity to design a wellbeing support network that can last a lifetime.

“Each day, we make dozens of choices: what to eat, how to stay active, ways to control our stress, etc. Every one of these decisions, no matter how small, contributes significantly to the overall state of our wellbeing and quality of life,” said Bruce Bullen, interim chief executive officer of Harvard Pilgrim. “In its simplest form, well, then provides people with the unique opportunity to share those choices that promote wellness, and champion others doing the same. The well, then community inspires people to make small changes that, together, result in big changes. We’re excited to launch this site, supporting Harvard Pilgrim’s mission to improve the health of society by encouraging strong, healthy and empowered people.”

In addition to wellthen.org, consumers may also share their ideas on the well, then Facebook fan page, YouTube channel and Twitter handle.

About Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

Harvard Pilgrim is a not-for-profit health plan that provides a variety of health benefit options and funding arrangements to more than one million members in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. Harvard Pilgrim was named the #1 commercial health plan in America according to a joint ranking by U.S. News & World Report and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)*. Harvard Pilgrim has topped the U.S.News/NCQA America’s Best Health Plans list every year since 2005. For more information, please visit www.harvardpilgrim.org.