Supporting Your Family’s Health: The Evolving Role of Health Insurers
When you think of health insurance and your family’s health, what do you immediately think of? Many people think of bills being paid or discounts on health costs, but WellPoint has different goals in mind. WellPoint is one of the largest health benefit companies in the nation. The company has affiliated health plans in 14 states that fall under the names Anthem BlueCross and BlueShield, Anthem BlueCross in California, Empire BlueCross BlueShield in New York and BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia.
While many typically think of health insurance within the context of paying the bills, the industry is recognizing that you need more than just that. You need help keeping both you and your family healthy and out of the doctor’s office in the first place. Like never before, plans are tailored to meet your needs with programs, tools and services that work with you to personalize your health care experience and that revolve around your schedule, no one else’s.
“My role as a doctor is to keep people healthy. The role of a health insurer is no different,” says Ellen Silver, MD Medical Director, Clinical Strategy and Innovation, WellPoint, Inc.
Some of the offerings from WellPoint’s affiliated health plans that are leading the way in providing a personalized member experience include the following:
WellPoint’s 24/7 NurseLine helps moms around the clock! The 24/7 NurseLine provides access to a registered nurse over the phone 24/7, anytime, anywhere for assistance or just to hear a reassuring voice.
When your doctor has gone home but you need quick health answers, this service provides accurate information and 1-on-1 counseling with experienced registered nurses any time of the day or night through a toll-free number. This team of knowledgeable and caring nurses is there to help you assess symptoms and help you determine whether you should see the doctor, go to the ER or visit an urgent care center. Plus, the nurses are prepared to answer questions about best practices when it comes to things like immunizations and a variety of public-health issues.
You may want to call the NurseLine when:
– Your child has fall and has lost a tooth. What do you do?
– Your child gets a pea stuck up his nose. Should you remove it yourself, go to your family physician, ER or critical care unit?
– Someone in your child’s classroom has contracted lice. What are the immediate measures and next steps you should take to ensure they stay healthy?
Interestingly, in 2009, the top five most frequent reasons for calls to the NurseLine were:
– Pediatrics – 22%
– Digestive – 9%
– Bone, Muscle or Joint – 9%
– Cardiovascular – 6%
– Dermatology – 5%
One of the biggest differentiators of the NurseLine program is that members can be directly connected to a nurse. I don’t know about you, but when my child is sick and I don’t know what to do, I don’t want a machine – I want a LIVE person! I want to know what to do and how to get the child or individual better as soon as possible!
There are many programs out there that have an added step in the process. They connect you first to a non-clinical person or even asking you to respond first to pre-taped recordings. But with WellPoint’s affiliated health plans, if you select the prompt to speak to a nurse, you speak with one immediately.
Not only does the company help you tackle the day-to-day challenges of being a mom, but it also helps you before you actually take on that role, through its Future Moms maternity program. This program gives very personalized support to expectant moms, helping them achieve healthier pregnancies and healthier deliveries – which can lead to having healthier babies.
The program includes risk screening and educational support as well as post-delivery follow-up, which include the screening for depression for those who have faced something even more severe than the “Baby Blues.” It also helps provide you with the information and tips you will need as a new parent, caring for your child throughout the first year. Depending on whether you purchased your benefits yourself or receive them through your employer, you may need to enroll in this program. Simply call the number on your insurance card to check on eligibility and if you need to enroll.
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I had Regence BlueCross BlueShield for my health insurance. I signed up for the Future Moms program and found it extremely helpful to me for my pregnancy, as well as delivery and postnatal care.
The Future Moms program provides the following to expectant moms:
– Toll-free number for an nurse coach
– Your Pregnancy Week by Week, book (I remember receiving this book when I was pregnant. It had a ton of useful information and really built up the excitement for my pregnancy and upcoming childbirth.)
– Tools to help track your pregnancy and spot possible risks with our Maternity Care Diary.
– Risk Screening and Educational Support
– Lifestyle Management including Nutritional Counseling and Lactation Support
– Post-delivery follow-up which includes screening for Depression
PERSONALIZING YOUR HEALTH
Knowing that moms have little time in their day to focus on just themselves, WellPoint and its affiliated health plans have provided a health and wellness portal that you can customize to your needs. The portal lets you – and other family members (yes, Dads too!) – develop a personalized health plan and includes email reminders and prompts for you to do the things you need to do – like scheduling check-ups and working out. It also contains a live-chat feature as well as access to a health coach for support with health resources, and even services as specific as providing suggestions for quick and healthy recipes.
Fitness devices are also available to help measure your steps, activity and even your sleep! These options are available not just through the workplace, but also as part of personal plans such as consumer directed plans as well as in several states, including Connecticut, Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire, Maine and Virginia. The company is also working to introduce a similar portal for all of its members in the future.
“As a mom, I completely understand the challenge of instilling healthy habits in our kids and maintaining a healthy routine, while keeping up with the pace of everyday life. For us, services that tailor to the needs of our families and are convenient to our hectic schedules are what win the day,” says Eileen Meehan, Staff Vice President, Clinical Product Development, WellPoint, Inc.
Web portal focuses on your goals: Weight management, fitness, nutrition, tobacco cessation, preventive health care and well-being plans.
– Personalized Site – include family photos as Motivation
– Tailored Health Plans – meet individual needs
– Certified Online Coaching
– Email and Site Reminders – help manage busy lifestyles
– Access to online Tobacco Cessation Plan – QuitNet
FITNESS TO FIT YOUR LIFESTYLE
Being a mom often times means putting your family’s needs before your own, leaving very little time to work on your personal fitness goals. Understanding this, WellPoint and its affiliated health plans have partnered with FitOrbit to offer convenient and affordable ways for you to achieve your personal fitness goals. FitOrbit is available to anyone who wishes to sign up on the Fitorbit.com site. However, the company plans to incorporate FitOrbit into some of its products for employers, as well as offer it at a discounted rate to members in the future. FitOrbit provides:
– Unlimited access to a real personal trainer who, unlike trainers at the gym, is available to you around the clock.
– Customized, family friendly meal plan including recipes an even a grocery list!
– Detailed, personalized fitness plan that you can do anywhere, anytime. Whether it’s doing lunges at the playground while you push your child on the swing or doing squats while folding laundry, your personal trainer can help you find moments during the day when you can easily add an exercise.
Check out this Playground Workout for Moms:
Even if your only equipment is a bench at the park while your kids play, your trainer can create a program just for you!
– 3 sets of 10 triceps dips on park bench
– 3 sets of 10 swing squats
– 3 sets of 10 incline push-ups on park slide
– 3 sets of 10 ballet leg lifts
As a health insurer, it is WellPoint’s goal to support your efforts to keep both you and your family healthy. To that end, the company is happy to offer you a special discount to FitOrbit, which can be accessed HERE.
WellPoint and its affiliated health plans are working on a member discount for a variety of health and wellness products through its Special Offers programs which includes discounts on services like memberships to Weight Watchers and neighborhood gyms. This will be available in the future, but in the meantime, if you are a member and want to see the special offers available to you, HERE are links that outline these offers by plan.