Empire BlueCross BlueShield Encourages Women to Get Important Health Screenings as Part of National Women's Health Week

Many women with health insurance still don't get important preventive screenings

NEW YORK, May 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Been meaning to schedule your annual wellness exam but just haven't gotten around to it? For too many women, the answer is yes. Empire BlueCross BlueShield is calling on all women to take time for themselves and schedule any necessary health screenings that they may need to maintain and improve their health.

In observance of National Women's Health Week from May 8-14, Empire is working in tandem with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health to promote women's health.

"Women often spend much of their time caring for others and, in the process, sometimes neglect their own health needs," said Mark Wagar, President and CEO, Empire BlueCross BlueShield.

"We want to make sure they know that the best way to be stronger for others is to be healthy themselves.  A great way to remember is to set aside May 9 – National Women's Checkup Day – to think about the screenings that they need and schedule an appointment with their health care providers if they haven't done so already."

The National Women's Health Week website offers information on when specific screenings should take place. Empire's MyHealthNote program provides screening reminders, along with other health reminders and tips to members.

"While we've worked hard to increase the number of women getting screenings over the years, our Member Health Index, which uses measures to show the quality of health care a member receives, shows us that not everyone is getting the screenings they need," said Dr. Scott Breidbart, Chief Medical Officer for Empire. "Regular screenings can help detect disease or other conditions early so that women receive proper treatment."

The following are statistics for women who are members of Empire and who were on target with these preventive screenings in 2010, according to the Member Health Index:

  • Breast cancer, 66 percent. Treatment for breast cancer is more likely to be successful when the cancer is found early. That is why a mammogram every one to two years for women age 40 or older is so important.

  • Cervical cancer, 76 percent. This screening looks for changes in cells that if not treated, could become cancerous. Women should talk with their doctor about a screening schedule of every one to three years if they are sexually active and between the ages of 21 and 70.

About Empire BlueCross BlueShield:

Serving New Yorkers for over 75 years, Empire BlueCross BlueShield is the largest health insurer in New York supporting nearly six million members and more than 38,000 business, union and small employers in New York. Empire BlueCross BlueShield (Empire) is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Inc., and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice HMO, Inc., independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, serving residents and businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York State. Additional information about Empire is available at www.empireblue.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/healthjoinin, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthJoinInEmpire, or visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/healthjoinin.

SOURCE Empire BlueCross BlueShield