WellPoint First Insurer to Implement Reforms Ahead of Schedule
(Indianapolis, April 27, 2010) WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP), the nation's largest health insurer, announced today that it will implement federal legislation regarding individual market rescissions effective May 1. This is well ahead of the effective date contained in the legislation. WellPoint is the first insurer to implement the provision. This move builds on WellPoint's leadership in the early implementation of reform by extending coverage to dependents up to age 26.
Rescissions, while rarely used, are one process insurers employ to reduce fraud and protect members. The standard contained in the federal legislation requires insurers not to rescind policies except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material fact.
WellPoint welcomes greater uniformity among insurers in this area. In June 2006, WellPoint was the first insurer to announce the establishment of a variety of changes to its rescission practices in an effort to ensure that rescissions are handled as accurately and appropriately as possible. WellPoint followed that in 2008 by being the first in the industry to offer a binding, external, independent third-party review process for rescissions, a move that was cited at the time as a model for the industry and goes beyond the requirements in the federal law.
"Our goal is to make reform work for our members and for the country," said Angela Braly, Chief Executive Officer of WellPoint. "There have been a lot of misrepresentations and inaccuracies in recent days that have caused confusion among our members and among the public generally about our policies in this area. We think today's announcement will go a long way toward bringing greater clarity."
About WellPoint, Inc.
WellPoint works to simplify the connection between Health, Care and Value. We help to improve the health of our communities, deliver better care to members, and provide greater value to our customers and shareholders. WellPoint is the nation's largest health benefits company, with more than 33 million members in its affiliated health plans. As an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, WellPoint serves 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 the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin. In a majority of these service areas, WellPoint does business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield or Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (in the New York service areas). WellPoint also serves customers throughout the country as UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at www.wellpoint.com.