WellPoint NextRx Announces Results of Five State Pilot Program to Help Manage Insomnia

Thursday, June 19, 2008 General News
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INDIANAPOLIS, June 18 WellPoint NextRx, thenation's largest health plan-owned pharmacy benefit management (PBM)subsidiary, announced today the results of a program to treat insomnia thatwas piloted in five states. The pilot program was designed to encourage adialogue between members and their physicians about best approaches to treatinsomnia before seeking the aid of sleep medications. As a result of thepositive outcomes of the pilot program WellPoint's affiliated health planswill make this program available through its pharmacy benefits manager (PBM),NextRx to members in 14 plans across the country.

According to the National Institutes of Health, each year an estimated 70million adult Americans suffer from some form of sleep problem. "In the lastyear, we've seen a continued growth in the use of sleep aids and over timethat use can prove very costly for our members. There are manynonpharmacological treatments that physicians and members may want toconsider," said Colleen Haines, staff vice president clinical pharmacyservices. "We know there are many health factors that could contribute to anindividual suffering from insomnia. Our goal is to encourage physicians andhealth plan members to discuss those health factors together and explore alltherapy options available as well as ensure appropriate use of drug therapyfor the treatment of insomnia," added Haines.

The pilot program identified a targeted group of health plan members inOhio, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri and Wisconsin who had been using sleep aidsfor more than 100 days within a six-month period and provided them with asleep diary and insomnia educational brochures. In addition, the members'physicians also received updated treatment guidelines for insomnia along withinformation about the program to help them begin an active dialogue with themember. Both members and physicians were encouraged to discuss sleep patternsand concerns to help identify what other factors may be contributing to theirinsomnia and look to other therapies such as daily behavioral changes thatcould help induce healthier sleep habits. Those changes could include abedtime routine, improving exercise and eating patterns or avoidance ofalcohol and caffeine before bedtime, in an effort to help induce healthiersleep habits.

The feedback about the pilot program from health plan members was positivewith many reporting that it helped to change their sleep habits and that theywould be more inclined to discuss sleep concerns with their physicians. Overthe course of the study, the analysis showed a 3.5 percent higher rate ofreducing the quantity of sleep aid they were using, resulting in an averagecost saving of $14 per member.

WellPoint NextRx is a service mark of WellPoint, Inc. Services areprovided by a WellPoint PBM (either NextRx Services, Inc. or NextRx, LLC, asapplicable). WellPoint NextRx is a division of WellPoint, Inc.

About WellPoint, Inc.

WellPoint, Inc. is the largest health benefits company in terms of medicalmembership in the United States. WellPoint is an independent licensee of theBlue Cross and Blue Shield Association and serves its members as the BlueCross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee forColorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (asEmpire Blue Cross Blue Shield in 10 New York City metropolitan and surroundingcounties and as Empire Blue Cross or Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in selectedupstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the city of Fairfax, thetown of Vienna and the area east of State Route 123.), Wisconsin; and throughUniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available atwww.wellpoint.com.

SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.

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