Live, online access to Minnesota doctors offers new holiday convenience

12.17.2010- EAGAN, Minn. (December 17, 2010) - For those too busy this holiday season to drive to their doctor for an expired prescription or stop by a walk-in clinic with a nagging cough, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) can help. Through Online Care Anywhere, a virtual clinic offered by Blue Cross, everyone in Minnesota now has immediate access to medical advice from local doctors, right at their fingertips - at onlinecareanywheremn.com

"Online Care Anywhere is a perfect solution for convenient medical advice - especially during the busy holiday season," said Pamela Sedmak, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer for Blue Cross. "It's great for moms too short on time for office visits, or families with visiting friends and relatives that forgot to have a prescription refilled, or if you're stuck at home in a blizzard."

"I was able to see a doctor immediately for my annual bout of bronchitis," said Julie Swanson, a resident of Burnsville and repeat user of Online Care Anywhere. "With Online Care Anywhere, I had a local physician evaluate my condition and write a prescription literally minutes after logging on. It is a great option for when I can't re-arrange my life around a trip to the clinic."

The service is modeled after a traditional doctor's office visit and is staffed by experienced Minnesota physicians and nurse practitioners. Through a web cam, individuals can have a face-to-face conversation, or access the service via phone. Individuals do not need to be a Blue Cross member to use Online Care Anywhere.

"Online Care Anywhere lets you step to the front of the line and literally be seen moments after you first think about seeing a doctor." said Pamela Sedmak. "You can discuss your symptoms, get a quick diagnosis and prescription for common illnesses, such as bronchitis or a sinus infection. Or, you can seek advice about sensitive medical situations, chronic illnesses, as well as preventive and wellness care."

To safeguard consumers' privacy and protect information, Online Care Anywhere, powered by American Well TM technology, is built with multiple layers of security, and fully compliant with the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It offers doctors online Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and during holidays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $45 for a visit. Credit and debit cards are accepted. For more information, go to onlinecareanywheremn.com or call 877-515-9990.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota's first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today as a health company: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. Blue Cross is a not-for-profit, taxable organization. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago. Go to bluecrossmn.com to learn more about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.

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