Starting this fall, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network members will have access to a new set of health and wellness programs. Through a partnership with WebMD Health Services, Blue Cross will offer a new online wellness platform – including a health assessment, digital health assistant and health information – along with other wellness programs to its group and individual members. The new partnership gives Michigan Blues’ customers, including employer groups looking to keep costs down, the opportunity to incorporate wellness programs into their benefit structure. “We’re excited to offer our members these new wellness programs from a well-known and trusted company like WebMD Health Services,” said Ann Baker, vice president, Wellness and Care Management at Blue Cross. “It is partnerships like these that will enable us to continue meeting the increased demands of our customers now and in the future. Research shows employee health and productivity have a direct correlation. An estimated 40 percent of U.S. workers experience fatigue, which costs employers more than $136 billion per year in lost productivity. A 2012 study in USA Today stated employers who invest in wellness programs see increased employee retention, attendance and productivity. Absenteeism costs improved by an average of $2.73 for every dollar spent on wellness, an ROI of over 150%. The partnership with WebMD Health Services adds the latest technology to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s wellness platform. The innovative tools are accessible on mobile devices allowing members to take the Health Assessment or access the digital health assistant on a tablet or mobile phone. Additionally, members will have the opportunity to access the digital wellness programs through the bcbsm.com member site anywhere, anytime. Blue Cross members will have on-demand access to check their coverage, monitor claims activity and shop for doctors and health care services. “Employers know the value of wellness programs, and how the right program can help their employees get healthier and ultimately, help better manage overall health care costs,” Baker added. “With WebMD Health Services, we’ll be able to offer our employers and members an engaging, digitally robust and integrated wellness experience,” Baker added. An employer survey released in August 2012 by the National Business Group on Health found that 61 percent of firms said they found wellness programs to be among the three most effective tactics for keeping a lid on health care costs. Blue Cross and Blue Care Network members who have health care coverage will all have access to a portion of the online wellness programs, but additional wellness programs will be available for groups to purchase to enhance the wellness options for their employees. About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.4 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com. About WebMD Health Services WebMD Health Services platform enables employers and health plans to provide their employees and plan participants with access to personalized health and benefit information and decision-support tools that help them to make more informed benefit, treatment and provider decisions and motivate them to make healthier lifestyle choices. The company also provides telephonic, online and onsite health coaching and targeted condition management programs for use by its private portals clients’ employees and plan participants to help them achieve their wellness goals. About WebMD WebMD Health Corp. is the leading provider of health information services, serving consumers, physicians, health care professionals, employers, and health plans through our public and private online portals, mobile platforms and health focused publications. The WebMD Health Network includes WebMD Health, Medscape, MedicineNet, emedicineHealth, RxList, theheart.org, Medscape Education and other owned WebMD sites. Photo Credit: USACE
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