Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a briefing presented by Wellpoint about “Supporting Your Family’s Health: The Evolving Role of Health Insurance”. Wellpoint is one of the largest healthcare benefit companies in the country, and has affiliated health plans in 14 states, including Empire Bluecross Blueshield in New York.
I was compensated to participate in the briefing, but I was drawn to it by the premise that health insurance companies want to do be more than “the ones who (hopefully) pay the bills” but rather partners in patients making decisions and resources for when they want to make change.
Admittedly, I always had a love-hate relationship with my health insurer (not a Wellpoint company). I was always very grateful to have health insurance coverage and the miracle of having a $50 co-pay for a three day stay at the hospital for my C-section was not lost on me. But years ago, as I turned 40, my health insurance provider would not pay for a mammogram that my doctor considered medically indicated, and I still remember how annoyed I was, even as I paid some $300 out of pocket. (I wanted to go to a facility that I’d chosen, not the one my plan wanted me to go to.)
So I absolutely look at my health insurance as someone who only pays for the doctor’s visits, but after the briefing, I feel like I should be asking for more from the company.
For example, Wellpoint provides a 24/7 Nurseline, where people can call in to ask that question in the middle of the night, when they can’t or don’t want to reach their own pediatrician or doctor. I’m pretty sure that the insurance industry developed this system after my kids got older because they knew I’d be on the phone 24/7. (True story: I once called my pediatrician because I was worried that my daughter was yawning too much.)
I also love the services that they provide for expectant and new moms, as part of its Future Moms maternity program. This is a personalized service that provides support to women in order to ensure a healthy pregnancy and healthy babies. Very importantly, the program provides risk-screening and educational services as well as post-natal support that focuses on postpartum depression.
Finally, for those of us who are no longer bearing children, WellPoint has options to maximize our health and it does so in steps that most of us can follow. Through FitOrbit, the program provides:
• Unlimited access to a real personal trainer who, unlike trainers at the gym, is available to you around the clock.
• Customized, family friendly meal plan including recipes and even a grocery list!
• Detailed, personalized fitness plan that you can do anywhere, anytime. Whether it’s doing lunges at the playground while you push your child on the swing or doing squats while folding laundry, your personal trainer can help you find moments during the day when you can easily add an exercise!
I have to say, I am almost afraid to check to see what my health insurance offers. Because if I research it and they offer “two bandaids and a coupon for Spanx” instead of the gamut of services that WellPoint does, I will need to have a blood pressure screening due to inevitable rage issues.
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Disclosure: I’ve been compensated for this post by WellPoint and The Motherhood, but all opinions are my own.