Highmark and West Penn Allegheny Health System Announce Plans to Pursue Affiliation

Pittsburgh, Pa. — Highmark Inc. and the West Penn Allegheny Health System (WPAHS) today announced their intentions to pursue an affiliation aimed at maintaining the health system as a high-quality choice for health care services to millions of Western Pennsylvanians.

As part of the initial arrangement, Highmark is immediately providing a $50 million grant to the WPAHS, enabling the health system to sustain and strengthen its West Penn and Forbes Regional hospitals while assuring the continued delivery of quality medical services by the entire system. Highmark is making a total financial commitment of up to $475 million over four years, including $75 million to fund scholarships for students attending medical schools affiliated with WPAHS, and to support other health professional education programs.

The management and boards of directors of Highmark and WPAHS will continue discussions in the weeks ahead with the goal of finalizing a definitive agreement.

“Today is an important first step to ensuring the continued viability of the West Penn Allegheny Health System and a choice of health care services in our region,” said Kenneth R. Melani, M.D., Highmark’s president and chief executive officer.

“For generations, the residents of our community and physicians have had broad choices in the health care marketplace,” Dr. Melani said. “For consumers, we want to preserve their choices. For physicians and other health care providers, we want to ensure multiple patient referral options. This affiliation will help preserve those very options. In addition, the $75 million that we will be contributing for scholarships for medical school students and other educational programs will go a long way in addressing the shortage of physicians in the region, and help us retain highly trained doctors to serve our community.”

“West Penn Allegheny has been recognized nationally for its leading doctors and nurses who provide high-quality, personalized care; however, there is no doubt that we have lacked the capital necessary to deliver on our full potential,” said David L. McClenahan, West Penn Allegheny’s chairman of the board. “We share a common goal with Highmark to focus on the patient experience, improve health care and ensure choice for both those seeking care and those seeking employment in the health care sector in our region. We look forward to finalizing our affiliation agreement in the weeks ahead.”

McClenahan also announced a transition in the West Penn Allegheny leadership, stating, “Dr. Christopher Olivia will be leaving his role as President and CEO on June 28, 2011. He will be consulting with Highmark and assisting Dr. Melani in connection with the conclusion of this transaction and other strategic issues.”

“Dr. Chris Olivia has been a valuable change agent for West Penn Allegheny. Since he arrived in 2008, Chris has been steadfast in his belief about a bright future for the System. He has led the organization through some difficult changes while laying groundwork for exciting developments such as the medical school partnership with Temple University School of Medicine,” said McClenahan.” The board and the entire West Penn Allegheny Health System are grateful for Chris’ vision and leadership that has brought us to this remarkable announcement.” He also announced that Dianne Dismukes has been named President and CEO of WPAHS.

The proposed affiliation of Highmark and the West Penn Allegheny Health System is the first step in a broader Highmark effort to develop alternative health care options that offer high-quality care at a lower price and more coordinated and patient-driven delivery of medical care.

“It is critical to the economic and financial health of the community that Western Pennsylvanians have a choice of health care providers and that we preserve strong and valuable community institutions like the West Penn Allegheny Health System,” Dr. Melani said.

About Highmark Inc.
Highmark Inc., based in Pittsburgh, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. Highmark serves 4.8 million members in Pennsylvania and West Virginia through the company’s health care benefits business and is one of the largest Blue plans in the nation. Highmark has 19,500 employees across the country.

About West Penn Allegheny Health System
West Penn Allegheny Health System (WPAHS) is a physician-led healthcare organization based in Pittsburgh, Pa.  Recognized as a health care quality and personalized service leader in its market, the organization’s sole purpose is to improve the health of people in the Western Pennsylvania region.  West Penn Allegheny Health System’s specialty programs continually receive national and international recognition — particularly in the areas of Bone and Joint, Cardiovascular, Neurosciences and Oncology, which make up the organization’s four Institutes of Excellence.  The System offers 46 graduate medical programs, two nursing schools, and will host the first undergraduate medical school class of the Temple University School of Medicine at West Penn Allegheny Health System in 2013. WPAHS is also home to the Allegheny-Singer Research Institute, which sponsors interdisciplinary programs to understand, treat and prevent human diseases.  The System is comprised of five hospitals, including Allegheny General Hospital on the North Side, West Penn Hospital in Bloomfield, Allegheny Valley Hospital in Natrona Heights, Canonsburg General Hospital in Canonsburg, and Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville.

Highmark Inc. is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.

 

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Designates 2,500 Physicians in Nation’s Largest Medical Home Program

DETROIT — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has designated approximately 2,500 physicians in roughly 770 practices across the state as patient-centered medical homes (PCMH), a 28 percent increase over the 1,800 designatedPCMH physicians in 2010. This is the nation’s largest PCMH effort for the third consecutive year.

In the patient-centered medical home model, primary care physicians (pediatricians, internists and family practice doctors) lead care teams that bring intensive focus to their patients’ individual health goals and needs. The care teams work with patients to keep them healthy, monitoring their care on an ongoing basis. PCMH teams coordinate patients’ health care using registries to track patients’ conditions and ensure that they receive the care they need.

PCMH practices offer patients various capabilities and services that patients may not find at non-designated practices.  They offer 24-hour access to the care team, coordinate specialist and complementary care – such as nutrition counseling – and teach patients how to manage conditions such as asthma and diabetes. All PCMH-designated primary care physicians offer their patients 24-hour phone access to clinical decision-makers, comprehensive information on after-hours care options, medication review and management, and a well-established process for informing patients about abnormal results.

“Partnering with Blue Cross, many dedicated health care professionals are greatly improving access for patients, achieving better outcomes of care and more effectively managing costs, ” said Thomas L. Simmer, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer for BCBSM.  “This program gives Michigan residents closer relationships with their doctors, not only when they are sick, but when they need advice and guidance to keep them healthy.”

In comparing utilization trends of PCMH-designated and non-designated physicians, BCBSM has observed that PCMH-designated doctors are succeeding in managing their patients’ care to keep them healthy and prevent complications that require treatment with expensive medical services. For example in 2010, PCMH practices had an 11.1 percent lower rate of adult ambulatory care sensitive inpatient admissions than non-designated practices.

PCMH practices also had a 6.3 percent lower rate of adult high-tech radiology usage; a 6.6 percent lower rate of adult ER visits; a 3.3 percent higher rate of dispensing generic drugs; and a 7.0 percent lower rate of adult ambulatory care sensitive ER visits over non-PCMH doctors.

“Many doctors tell me that this is what they envisioned for primary care. This patient-centered medical home model gives doctors the structure, process and tools they need to manage their patients’ care continually, rather than just fix their ailments from episode to episode,” Simmer said. “Physicians are working hard to transform their practices into patient-centered medical homes. In fact, we’ve now doubled the designated doctors from 1,200 in 2009 to 2,500 in 2011.”

More than 5,000 primary care doctors in Michigan are working toward designation as PCMH practices by transforming how their practices deliver health care services to patients. Simmer notes that while 2,500 of the 5,000 doctors attempting designation actually achieved it for 2011, they commend the efforts of those other 2,500 physicians for their work in supporting the PCMHmodel of care.

“All of these physicians are partnering with Blue Cross through this initiative to improve the primary care environment throughout the state,” Simmer said.

The benefits of PCMH reach all of a practice’s patients, regardless of whether the patient is insured by Blue Cross. The Blue Cross Patient-Centered Medical Home initiative affects millions of Michigan residents through designated physician offices today.The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Patient-Centered Medical Home program uses a model that considers both process of care and performance to designate physicians.  Half of the designation score is based on the amount of PCMH capabilities that the physician practices have in place – such as 24-hour telephone access, use of disease registries, and active care management. The other half of the designation score is based on quality and utilization measurements, such as emergency room visits, radiology and evidence-based care measures among their patients.

Blue Cross has posted a list of PCMH designated physicians on its website atbcbsm.com. People interested in locating a PCMH physician in their community can go to bcbsm.com and click on “Find Doctor” at the top of the page.

The PCMH initiative is part of Value Partnerships, a collection of collaborative initiatives among physicians, hospitals and the Michigan Blues, all aimed at improving quality in medical care. To learn more about this comprehensive effort, go to valuepartnerships.com.

 

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is a nonprofit corporation and independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com.

 

 

GoHealth Breaks Down Coverage of Group Health Plans

CHICAGO, IL–(Marketwire – Jun 25, 2011) – Do group health insurance plans provide the best coverage? From the looks of a GoHealth infographic, that might not always be the case.

GoHealthInsurance.com is unveiling an infographic to show data from the Department of Labor and Department of Health and Human Services revealing the percentage of group plans that cover specific health services.

For example, only 66 percent of group health insurance plans completely cover maternity care while 91 percent cover emergency room visits.

“We’ve been used to believing that employer-sponsored health insurance always provided the best and most comprehensive coverage. But these days, as we see with this infographic, not all group plans offer the benefits we expect,” said Mark Colwell, Manager of Consumer Marketing at GoHealthInsurance.com. “If a person has health insurance through an employer, it’s very important to review and understand which medical services are covered and which are not.”

For many policyholders, group plans offer just the right amount of coverage. But for those who are looking for additional benefits and more robust coverage, it might not hurt to explore a few options in the individual health insurance market.

“Health insurance is something that should really be customized. We always advise people who visit our site to review their health plan at least once a year with an agent or a human resources department. Our agents are always around to help if needed,” added Colwell.

Consumers can view the latest GoHealth infographic at http://www.gohealthinsurance.com/blog-resources/group-health-plans-info/.

Data for the infographic was provided by the report entitled “Selected Medical Benefits: A Report from the Dept. of Labor to the Dept. of Health and Human Services” from the U.S. Dept. of Labor and Dept. of Health and Human Services. The 2011 report can be found at http://www.bls.gov/ncs/ebs/sp/selmedbensreport.pdf.

About GoHealthInsurance

GoHealth.com is an online health insurance quote comparison resource  and that has helped more than 2 million Americans obtain coverage. Consumers use the GoHealth.com platform to research, compare, and purchase coverage from the nation’s top insurance companies using online technology, by phone, and through a nationwide network of trusted advisors.

 

Health Net Earns Webby Distinction for Second Consecutive Year

LOS ANGELES, June 22, 2011 – For the second consecutive year, Health Net, Inc. (NYSE: HNT) was recognized for its overall Internet excellence as an Official Honoree at the 15th Annual Webby Awards. In addition, Health Net Mobile, the iPhone and Android application that provides around-the-clock, secure access to Health Net accounts and services for members, also earned Official Honoree distinction at the Webby Awards in the Mobile Productivity category.

Health Net’s multifaceted website, www.healthnet.com, and Health Net Mobile both offer quality and functionality in an easy-to-use format. They help provide meaningful outreach to members, brokers, consultants, employers, health care providers and the public at large. The mobile app offers portability to members who prefer secure instant access to their health plan, regardless of their location, and it even includes a mobile ID card.

“It was key to develop an innovative mobile solution with a seamless experience between Health Net, members and providers, in an industry where demands for customer-centric efficiency are high,” said Mark Brooks, chief technology officer for Health Net. “This Webby distinction recognizes that we continue meeting our goal of making Health Net members’ lives simpler, more organized and efficient, especially when they’re constantly on the go.”

About Health Net, Inc.

Health Net, Inc. is a publicly traded managed care organization that delivers managed health care services through health plans and government-sponsored managed care plans. Its mission is to help people be healthy, secure and comfortable. The company provides health benefits to approximately 6.0 million individuals across the country through group, individual, Medicare (including the Medicare prescription drug benefit commonly referred to as “Part D”), Medicaid, Department of Defense, including TRICARE, and Veterans Affairs programs. Health Net’s behavioral health services subsidiary, Managed Health Network, Inc., provides behavioral health, substance abuse and employee assistance programs to approximately 5.1 million individuals, including Health Net’s own health plan members. The company’s subsidiaries also offer managed health care products related to prescription drugs, and offer managed health care product coordination for multi-region employers and administrative services for medical groups and self-funded benefits programs.

For more information on Health Net, Inc., please visit the company’s website at www.healthnet.com.

New 2011 Health Care Benefits Data: High Deductible Plans Demonstrate Savings

BOSTON & ARLINGTON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–HighRoads, the industry leader in employer health care regulation compliance, and the Corporate Executive Board (NYSE: EXBD) (CEB), a leading research and advisory services company, today announced the results of their first joint study on health care benefits plan design data. The combined study from The Lab®, HighRoads’ real-time employer benefits database, shows that employees can save an average of $187 a year in premium savings alone by using a high-deductible consumer-driven health plan (CDHP). Families can save an average of $204 a year by using a CDHP. While CDHP’s provide savings in premiums, and in over-all maximum out-of-pocket exposure, the savings may be too small and the deductible too high relative to traditional Preferred Provider Organization plans (PPOs) and Health Maintenance Organization plans (HMOs) to encourage a larger percentage of employees switching to CDHPs. As such, PPOs still remain the most popular health care plan offering.

“As employee benefits professionals devise their benefit plan designs for 2012, fresh data on average plan designs will provide them with the industry-standard metrics and trends they need to make informed decisions”

The Lab, which includes Fortune 500 benefits data from HighRoads, CEB’s Corporate Leadership Council, and Thomson Reuters Healthcare, is comprised of data from over 10,500 real medical plan designs and rates, representing over 30 million lives.

“The data available through this partnership provides employers with a wealth of information on health care plan designs,” said Ania Krasniewska, senior director, Corporate Executive Board. “Leveraging this robust benchmarking tool, organizations now have the ability to compare their health plans against the national landscape of employers to ensure a best practice approach as they prepare for the Fall open enrollment period.”

Based on a recent data snapshot which shows results for 2011, The Lab reveals the following trends:

1. PPO plans are still the most widely offered employer plans, despite heavy communications around consumerism strategies with high deductible CDHPs. PPOs represent 39% of employer plans. Health Maintenance Organization plans (HMOs) represent 27%. High deductible plans represent 17%.

2. Monthly employee premiums for traditional (non high deductible plans) are consistent across the board, with an average monthly, employee only, premium of $132.11. PPOs are $149.88 per month. HMOs are $132.73 per month. Exclusive Provider Organization plans (EPOs) are $111.36 per month.

3. Monthly employee premiums for CDHPs are much lower, with an average monthly, employee only, premium of $62.14.

4. CDHP plans, for most individual employees and families, offer a lower annual total out-of-pocket cost compared to PPOs. When adding the average out-of-pocket costs for annual premiums, in network deductibles, and health savings account (HSA) contributions (specifically for CDHP plans), the average total annual individual out-of-pocket cost is $2,128 for CDHP plans compared to PPOs which have an annual out-of-pocket cost of $2,315. For families, the average total annual out-of-pocket cost is $5,656 for CDHPs and $5,860 for PPOs.

“As employee benefits professionals devise their benefit plan designs for 2012, fresh data on average plan designs will provide them with the industry-standard metrics and trends they need to make informed decisions,” said Eric Parmenter, Vice President of Consulting, HighRoads. “Data from The Lab shows that employee education around the cost savings possible with CDHP may help many employees reduce their out-of-pocket health care expenses while offering them increased flexibility and control over their health care decisions.”

The recent study also showed average co-pays and coinsurance contributions for in-network primary care physicians and specialists, non-traditional services including chiropractor and physical therapists, and urgent care facilities. Average in-network co-pays are $19 per visit for primary care providers, $31 per visit for specialists, and $103 per visit for emergency room.

To request a complete copy of the report, please contact Petra Marino at pmarino@highroads.com.

About The Lab

The Lab is the single largest benchmarking repository of health care benefit plan data in the U.S. It provides a number of health care benchmarks including statistics on alternative care, preventative care testing and screening, surgery, maternity, mental health, family planning, prescription drugs, vision and hearing care. Employers use The Lab data to compare their plans with other organizations by industry, geography, company size, plan and employee type.

About HighRoads

The world’s leading employers choose HighRoads to gain complete control over their health care costs and compliance. With HighRoads’ service, employers have online access to benefits plan information and pricing, competitive benefits benchmarks, and complete benefits supply chain management. The privately-held company is headquartered in Woburn, MA. For more information, visit www.HighRoads.com.

About the Corporate Executive Board

The Corporate Executive Board drives faster, more effective decision making among the world’s leading executives and business professionals. As the premier, network-based knowledge resource, The Corporate Executive Board provides customers with the authoritative and timely guidance needed to excel in their roles, take decisive action and improve company performance. Powered by an executive network that spans over 50 countries and represents approximately 85 percent of the world’s Fortune 500 companies, The Corporate Executive Board offers unique research insights along with an integrated suite of exclusive tools and resources that enable the world’s most successful organizations to deliver superior business outcomes. For more information, visit www.exbd.com.

 

hCentive Powers Sales Automation Platform for Coventry Health Care Individual Business

Sterling, VA – June 10, 2011 – hCentive, Inc (www.hCentive.com) today announced that Coventry Health Care, Inc. (coventryhealthcare.com) selected the hCentive WebInsure Consumer platform to power the online sales of its health plan products for individuals and families.

Online consumers shopping for health insurance and brokers who quote and sell CoventryOne Individual products are now using the hCentive WebInsure Consumer platform.

“Coventry’s goal is to offer a simple and straight-forward experience for our customers. We looked for an easy-to-use solution for both consumers and brokers. The tool that we built with hCentive accomplishes that goal and positions us for success in the growing Individual market, ” said Tom Stoiber, Vice President, Individual Products at Coventry Health Care. “We evaluated many different vendors, and hCentive offered the best platform and value for our investment.”

“We are extremely pleased with Coventry’s selection of hCentive Solution,’ said Sanjay Singh, CEO of hCentive, Inc. “Coventry’s choice reflects the value payers see in our solution. We have created a platform that helps insurance companies meet the requirements of health care reform and simplify distribution and administration. ”

About Coventry Health Care, Inc.
Coventry Health Care (www.coventryhealthcare.com) is a diversified national managed health care company based in Bethesda, Maryland, operating health plans, insurance companies, network rental and workers’ compensation services companies. Coventry provides a full range of risk and fee-based managed care products and services to a broad cross section of individuals, employer and government-funded groups, government agencies, and other insurance carriers and administrators.

About hCentive
hCentive is in the business of simplifying the complex world of health insurance. hCentive provides technology solutions for health insurers, state health insurance agencies and health care software companies. These solutions help them reduce cost and administrative complexity, while enhancing relationships with their customers.

The hCentive WebInsure Consumer and WebInsure Group platform help health insurers cost effectively acquire individual and small business customers. The hCentive WebInsure State platform helps states comply with health insurance exchange requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Health Care Innovation Summit Aims to Improve Care Through Collaboration and Innovation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — One of the government’s newest catalysts for innovation is co-host of an event bringing together health innovators for collaboration that aims to transform health care through knowledge sharing. The event will be held at a one-of-a-kind space devoted to discussions about health.

Leaders from the new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Center, along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Kaiser Permanente, Vangent, Inc. and 100 other national leaders in innovation will gather at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health on June 10 for the Health Care Innovation Summit.

This event will convene a growing community of innovation leaders to spur industry-wide knowledge sharing. The summit will be the first in a series of discussions that explore the ways that innovation can drive systematic improvement of the health care system.

The day will be devoted to roundtable discussions focused on sharing and supporting innovation in health care, demonstrations of recent innovations in health care delivery, population health, research and administration, and discovering how to build a sustainable health care innovation community.

“There is great need, and widespread interest in finding new ways to deliver better care and better health at reduced costs. The Affordable Care Act, through the Innovation Center, provides new resources to support health care innovators. We are thrilled to join this national effort to build a health care innovation community that will improve care for all Americans,” said Richard Gilfillan, MD, acting director of the CMS Innovation Center. CMS established the Innovation Center last year to find new ways to deliver and pay for health care that improve quality and patient outcomes while reducing costs.

The summit marks the first time leaders of health innovation centers, information technology and academia have met with the CMS Innovation Center, HHS and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to collectively explore new ways of improving the quality of care and health outcomes. The Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health opened in April as a place for innovators and leaders to talk about health and how to advance health and care delivery in the United States

“For us to achieve breakthrough innovation in health care, we need to find a way to be a learning community — where we share not just our successes, but also our failures. It requires partnerships and collaborative relationships among this diverse group of private and public leaders. This summit is a key step on that path,” said Jack Cochran, MD, FACS, executive director of The Permanente Federation, Kaiser Permanente. Dr. Cochran leads an organization that represents the national interests of the regional Permanente Medical Groups, which employ 15,000 physicians who care for 8.8 million Kaiser Permanente members.

The summit is part of Washington DC Health Innovation Week, a week of activities that bring together government agencies with academia and the health care and technology industries to spur new thinking in health.

About Vangent, Inc.

Vangent, Inc. is a global provider of consulting, systems integration, human capital management, and business process services to the U.S. federal and international governments, higher education institutions, and corporations. Vangent’s 7,500 employees support clients including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the U.S. Departments of Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Justice, Labor, and Veterans Affairs; and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as Fortune 500 companies. Headquartered in Arlington, Va., the company has offices throughout the U.S. and in the U.K. and Canada. For more information, visit www.vangent.com.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.8 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.

 

“Humana Healthier Choices” Guides Taste of Chicago 2011 Toward Healthier Eating

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)– More Chicago restaurants than ever are committed to providing food options at this year’s Taste of Chicago that are both healthy and delicious. Showing that it is possible for Taste-goers to munch on foods that are low on calories but still high on taste, 20 items from 17 different Chicago restaurants have been designated as Humana Healthier Choices – the most robust listing the program has ever offered.

For the fourth straight year, Humana (NYSE:HUM – News) will publish the Humana Healthier Choices food guide for the 2011 Taste of Chicago to showcase low-calorie, healthy appetizers, entrees and desserts available at the festival and direct Taste-goers to the restaurant vendors that are serving the 20 healthy foods. The guide is available for free and can be found at www.humana.com/tasteofchicago, onwww.facebook.com/humana.tasteofchicago, or during the Taste at the Humana Senior Dining Pavilion, Humana Race to Taste or from the Healthier Choices Apple Man mascot, who will roam the grounds of Taste. The guide will also be accessible via the official Taste of Chicago application, available for iPhones and Android devices.

“When people come to the Taste of Chicago every year, they expect to try lots of Chicago’s best foods and have fun,” said Deborah Gracey, president of Humana’s Medicare Great Lakes Region. “By mixing health and wellness components into the festival, such as the Humana Healthier Choices guide, Humana Race to Taste and activities at the Humana Senior Pavilion, we are helping Taste-goers realize that it is possible to have fun and be healthy at the same time.”

All of the Humana Healthier Choices meet nutritional calorie, sodium and saturated fat standards established by a panel of top Chicago-area physicians with expertise in nutrition and diet. The expert panel reviewed nutritional information provided by the restaurants and identified foods that met the criteria. Each appetizer and dessert has approximately 320 calories, 300 milligrams of sodium and 2 grams of saturated fat or less; each main entrée has approximately 500 calories, 500 milligrams of sodium and 4 grams of saturated fat or less.

All restaurants participating in the 2011 Taste of Chicago were given the opportunity to be considered for the Humana Healthier Choices guide. Humana asked interested restaurants to submit nutritional information for their healthier menu item(s), including calories, sodium content, saturated fat and ingredients, which were then evaluated by the physician panel. Restaurants that did not provide complete information were not reviewed by the physician panel.

“The increased number of Chicago restaurants that applied to be included in this year’s Humana Healthier Choices was wonderful to see, especially given the growth in interest in healthy food options at the festival over the years,” said Dr. Fredrik Tolin.

At the Taste, the Humana Healthier Choices items will be designated with green apples on the menu boards of the participating restaurants. Updates about all of Humana’s offerings at the Taste can be found on the Humana at Taste of Chicago Facebook page (www.facebook.com/humana.tasteofchicago).


About Humana

Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is a leading health care company that offers a wide range of insurance products and health and wellness services that incorporate an integrated approach to lifelong well-being. By leveraging the strengths of its core businesses, Humana believes it can better explore opportunities for existing and emerging adjacencies in health care that can further enhance wellness opportunities for the millions of people across the nation with whom the company has relationships.

 

My Plan by Medica Helps Employers Better Control Healthcare Expenses and Preserve Security for Employees

MINNETONKA, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Medica today announced that it will offer an innovative new defined contribution health benefit offering that will help employers better control rising healthcare costs while providing more group health coverage choices for their employees. The offering – My Plan by MedicaSM – is the first of its kind in the Minnesota market and created through an exclusive partnership between Medica and Bloom Health, a leader in defined contribution health benefits.

“Our defined contribution model addresses both the needs of employers and consumers”

My Plan by Medica features 20 group health benefit plans with a range of deductibles, coinsurance and benefits from which employees may choose.

According to a press release, My Plan by Medica provides employers with more predictable management of their health benefit costs, along with simplified plan administration. My Plan by Medica enables employers to determine how much they want to spend on employee health benefits and then allocate pre-tax dollars into a health account on behalf of each employee. The product also offers full administrative services so benefits administrators don’t have to manage 20 different plan options.

Consumers, meanwhile, have greater control over their health plan choices. During the plan selection process, employees use a My Plan by Medica proprietary online selection tool. The tool asks each employee a series of questions about their financial situation, health status and risk tolerance and provides a custom list of three group plans that best match each individual’s needs. A My Plan Advisor is available by phone at all steps of the selection process to help employees understand their options and make informed and personalized choices. The My Plan by Medica proprietary online tool is based on technology developed through Bloom Health.

“Our defined contribution model addresses both the needs of employers and consumers,” said Abir Sen, Bloom Health founder and CEO. “Our customers are finding that their employees are more satisfied with their benefits than with traditional plan offerings. And they are more likely to get preventive care than through traditional plan offerings, more likely to go to the doctor at appropriate times and more interested in the state of their own health.”

Embraced by brokers, employers and employees

“Employers often struggle with the cost of health benefits, with administrative complexity and employee dissatisfaction,” said John Naylor, Medica vice president and general manager of commercial sales, renewals and account services. “By leveraging leading-edge technology, My Plan by Medica allows employers to continue to provide group health benefits to their employees while also offering them the ability to make choices that are appropriate to their individual needs. We think this is a product whose time has come –- initial demand from brokers who have been through the credentialing process is very strong.”

Said Pat Boughey, principal at Mercer Human Resource Consulting: “We are seeing lots of interest from our clients – of all sizes – in this unique defined contribution solution offered by Medica.”

My Plan by Medica will be offered to employers only through brokers credentialed by Medica to sell the product. My Plan by Medica is available to fully insured employers beginning with an effective coverage date of July 1, 2011.

About Medica

Medica is a health services company headquartered in Minneapolis and active in the Upper Midwest. With approximately 1.66 million members, the non-profit company provides health care coverage in the employer, individual, Medicaid, Medicare and Medicare Part D markets in Minnesota and a growing number of counties in North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Medica also offers national network coverage to employers who also have employees outside the Medica regional network.

About Bloom

Based in Minneapolis, Bloom Health helps employers of all sizes and industries better define and control their health care spending. Bloom then guides employees through the complex world of health insurance, helping them find the right health plan for them and their families with its proprietary search and recommendations engine. Bloom Health was founded in 2009. Bloom Health is partially owned by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Venture Partners, LP, a corporate venture fund sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. For more information, visitgobloomhealth.com.

 

Walgreens Completes drugstore.com Acquisition

DEERFIELD, Ill., June 03, 2011 – Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG)(NASDAQ: WAG) today announced that it has completed its acquisition of drugstore.com. The transaction includes all websites directly owned and operated by drugstore.com, as well as its corporate office and customer service and distribution center operations.

The transaction, which represents a total enterprise value of approximately $409 million, follows Walgreens acquisition last year of New York-based drugstore chain Duane Reade. The addition of drugstore.com’s strong online business across its health, personal care, beauty and vision categories better positions Walgreens as the most convenient multi-channel retailer of health and daily living needs in America.

“We welcome drugstore.com’s leaders and employees to the Walgreens family,” said Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson. “drugstore.com complements Walgreens center of gravity — our 7,700 drugstores ? by extending many of our own multi-channel initiatives that have been driving our growth. This acquisition also provides us a unique opportunity to access more than 3 million savvy, online loyal customers, and move even closer to our existing customers through relationships with new vendors and partners, adding approximately 60,000 products to our already strong online offering.”

Walgreens President of E-commerce Sona Chawla will lead the combined e-commerce business. Dawn Lepore, former drugstore.com CEO and chairman, will continue through a transition period as a strategic advisor to Chawla.

“Today we are better positioned than ever before to offer our customers what they want, when they want it and where they want it? in our stores, online or through their mobile devices,” said Chawla. “We want to provide our customers an exceptional experience, and together with drugstore.com, we will give them more ways to connect and buy, easy access to a wide selection of products and services and increased delivery options. We are committed to joining drugstore.com’s talented team with our strong and growing e-commerce organization.”

drugstore.com will maintain separate branding of its websites. Over the long term, Walgreens will fully integrate the two businesses and intends to enhance its multi-channel product assortment and the overall customer experience by leveraging drugstore.com’s current websites.

About Walgreens

Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) is the nation’s largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2010 sales of $67 billion. The company operates 7,689 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each day, Walgreens provides nearly 6 million customers the most convenient, multi-channel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.

About drugstore.com

drugstore.com, inc. is a leading online retailer of health, beauty, clinical skincare, and vision products. The drugstore.com portfolio of brands includes: drugstore.com™, Beauty.com™, SkinStore.com™ and VisionDirect.com™. All provide a convenient, private and informative shopping experience, while offering a wide assortment of approximately 60,000 non-prescription products at competitive prices.

The drugstore.com pharmacy service, in association with BioScrip Pharmacy Services, Inc., is certified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) as a Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site (VIPPS) and complies with federal and state laws and regulations in the United States.