WellPoint Introduces Industry's First Electronic Tool to Help Members Search In-Network Doctors and Hospitals; Transparency Tool

INDIANAPOLIS, May 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- WellPoint, Inc., today announced the launch of a mobile provider finder tool, a new mobile directory that will allow members of its affiliated health plans to search for local, in-network doctors and hospitals through any Web-enabled cell phone or hand-held device. WellPoint's mobile provider finder, the first tool of its kind in the industry, is available now to its affiliated health plan members in Connecticut, Maine and New Hampshire, and will expand to other WellPoint markets throughout 2008.

"Consumers are increasingly more engaged in the decisions that affect their health and health care options," said Sam Nussbaum, M.D., WellPoint executive vice president and chief medical officer. "This innovation enhances transparency by providing yet another way for consumers to access information about the person who often plays the most important role in their care - their doctor."

"Whether you need to quickly locate a general practitioner or immediately understand your options when your family doctor recommends a specialist, this tool will give consumers access to the information they need to make educated decisions," added Nussbaum.

Members will be able to access the tool from any Web-enabled device to identify and browse in-network providers by address, city, state, zip code or name. Members can further target physician specialties, languages spoken and gender. The mobile provider finder also includes physicians' phone numbers and addresses, including step-by-step driving directions specifically designed for small screens.

"WellPoint is committed to providing innovative technology solutions that help to improve health care experiences," said Mark Boxer, president and CEO, WellPoint's Operations, Technology and Government Services Business Unit. "Cell phones, PDAs, and similar hand-held devices have quickly become a vital part of how we communicate and connect in today's world. That's why WellPoint is adding a mobile provider finder to our expanding line of online transparency tools, including our partnership with Zagat(R) Survey, Mobile Prescription Drug tool, Surgical Procedures tool and Online Care Comparison."

According to a study done by PEW Internet and American Life Project, 38 percent of internet users in the United States have a web-enabled wireless phone or hand-held device. Of these, seven percent regularly use these devices to search for people, contact information or directions.

About WellPoint, Inc.

WellPoint, Inc. is the largest health benefits company in terms of medical membership in the United States. WellPoint is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and serves its 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 northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), Wisconsin; and through UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at www.wellpoint.com .

SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.