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WellPoint Announces It Will Unilaterally Implement Key Provisions of the 'Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act'

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 General News J E 4
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New Provisions Ensure Greater Transparency and More Robust Treatment Coverage

INDIANAPOLIS, May 26 /PRNewswire/ -- WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP), the nation's largest health insurer by medical membership, announced today it will unilaterally implement key provisions of the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act introduced by U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro. These new provisions include more transparent benefit language including clear explanations of benefits to members with breast cancer, and the provisions standardize minimum recovery times in the hospital for women recovering from mastectomy.

The adoption of these provisions builds on WellPoint's existing leadership in breast cancer treatment.  While variability exists within clinical guidelines and state regulations, the vast majority of WellPoint's members already receive the standard of care indicated in the legislation.  However, WellPoint believes that applying this universal minimum standard will both benefit our members, as well as encourage others in the industry to follow and adopt this standard.  Beginning July 1, 2010, WellPoint will standardize clinical guidelines for women recovering from mastectomy to offer a voluntary 48-hour minimum in-hospital stay.

"Women recovering from breast cancer surgery, in consultation with their physicians, will decide whether hospitalization for 48 hours is required," said Sam Nussbaum, Chief Medical Officer, WellPoint. "We are committed to making medical coverage decisions for women with breast cancer that are in accord with the latest scientific evidence and clinical research. It's important for us and our members that WellPoint continues to lead in this area," he added.

"We continue to work with the American Cancer Society and academic thought leaders to gain real-world knowledge of breast cancer treatments to shape improvements in care for women with breast cancer," said Nussbaum. "Our goal is to ensure that our members receive optimal care."

WellPoint also champions effective member communication and transparency regarding breast cancer diagnosis and treatment options. More than 3,000 nurses and clinical associates work with members daily, to encourage detection of breast cancer at its earliest stages and to ensure that members are receiving the best breast cancer treatments available. Toward that end, WellPoint is taking steps to provide comprehensible, straight-forward explanations of benefits so that members more clearly understand their treatment options.

"WellPoint works to ensure that all of our members are getting best practice care," said Dijuana Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of WellPoint's Comprehensive Health Solutions business unit. "We are especially proud of our record in improving care for women with breast cancer in this country and believe these added measures will increase the quality of care that our members receive."

About WellPoint, Inc.

WellPoint works to simplify the connection between Health, Care and Value. We help to improve the health of our communities, deliver better care to members, and provide greater value to our customers and shareholders. WellPoint is the nation's largest health benefits company, with more than 33 million members in its affiliated health plans. As an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, WellPoint serves members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin. In a majority of these service areas, WellPoint does business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield or Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (in the New York service areas). WellPoint also serves customers throughout the country as UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at www.wellpoint.com.

SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.

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