WellPoint Affiliated Online Stores Prove Popular With Baby Boomers

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The online stores featuring the Medicare plans of WellPoint affiliated companies proved very popular with seniors during the recently concluded Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), demonstrating Baby Boomers' confidence with learning about, pricing and buying health care services online.

The stores, which vary by brand, launched in September and steadily picked up traffic during AEP, which ran from Nov. 15 through Dec. 31, 2010. During this period, more than 225,000 different quotes were delivered on WellPoint affiliated Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement and Prescription Drug Plans online.

In fact, more than one in five Medicare applications came into WellPoint affiliated plans through electronic sources during AEP. The busiest day of the year for the stores was Dec. 30 as AEP was winding down.

"The first Baby Boomers are aging into Medicare this year," explained Krista Bowers, vice president of WellPoint's senior division. "We knew from our research that they would be more confident with the Internet than their predecessors. That's why we launched the online stores in time for AEP. However, the extent to which the Boomers went online exceeded even our expectations.

"During AEP, we tried to meet people where they were most comfortable," Bowers added. "Some went online by themselves, while others were assisted by our sales agents or independent brokers. Of course, we also had our regular enrollment channels, including telephone calls and face-to-face meetings."

Nevertheless, it's clear that Internet channels are growing in popularity among seniors, especially with 70 million Baby Boomers aging into Medicare over the next two decades. According to a 2010 study by Pew Research Center, 76 percent of older Boomers (56-64) and 81 percent of younger Boomers (46-55) go online, making up about 33 percent of the total Internet using population. The study shows that getting health information is one of their top reasons for going online.

The online stores of WellPoint affiliated companies allow visitors to learn about products, compare plans, get a quote and even enroll in a plan when eligible.

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 in terms of medical enrollment, with more than 33 million members in its affiliated health plans, and a total of more than 69 million individuals served through all subsidiaries.  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, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, or Empire Blue Cross (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.

SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.