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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: Aug. 19, 2008
Wellmark Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of Iowa Promotes Improved Health

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa is introducing programs and services designed to help employer customers manage the health risk of their employees and individual members to lead healthier, more productive lives, the company said.

Wellmark’s approach to wellness and health management – called Whole Health Dimensions –combines Wellmark’s focus on health improvement with its comprehensive data-mining capabilities and collaborative provider relationships.

According to Wellmark members will be encouraged to establish a medical home with their healthcare provider and take a more active role in managing their health through an array of services.

The company said the following services are designed to help members identify their health risks and to set and achieve their goals:

  • Decision-support tools including 24/7 phone services to help members navigate the healthcare system and receive answers from a nurse about their healthcare questions;
  • Wellness programs including an online health assessment, Web-based tools, on-site wellness screenings, telephonic health coaching and on-site program deliver;
  • Consultative services to help companies plan and design health-management strategies based on their unique situations and needs; and
  • More robust disease management, pregnancy care, utilization management and case management programs.

The ultimate goal is to redefine Wellmark’s working relationship with network clinicians in a way that supports the medical home concept – patient-focused, clinician-directed and Wellmark-supported.

Wellmark spent the better part of 2007 preparing for the launch of Whole Health Dimensions’ programs and services with a special focus on building wellness solutions that help companies keep their employees healthy and prevent or delay chronic illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease.

According to D.W. Edington, Ph.D., director of the University of Michigan Health Management Research Center, presenteeism accounts for 63 percent of indirect medical costs, compared to 6 percent for absenteeism and short-term disability and 1 percent for long-term disability. Edington is collaborating with Wellmark to establish scientific-based protocols to measure the success of its health management solutions.

Wellmark is introducing the full suite of Whole Health Dimensions solutions to its fully insured group and individual customers throughout 2008. Whole Health Dimensions is also available to self-insured groups and their members. Already, a number of these self-funded employer groups are implementing these solutions for more than 125,000 employees and their families.

Small group employers will be able to avail themselves of the Whole Health Dimensions’ Community Wellness program, a personal, "feet-on-the-street" approach to wellness, designed to build momentum for health promotion at the local level. Wellmark’s Community Wellness program promotes wellness programs to businesses as a way to increase productivity and help control healthcare costs.

Address: Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa, 636 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309; (515) 245-4500,

  This article was taken from:
The Executive Report on Managed Care

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