Prescription Coverage Grows As Prevention Pays Off


MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, WA – (September 17, 2009) – LifeWise Health Plan of Washington is announcing the following expansion of individual health-plan benefits to provide consumers with more choices and greater coverage:

  • A new comprehensive plan with lower out-of-pocket costs.
  • WiseChoices Prime will offer comprehensive coverage coupled with a reduced annual coinsurance maximum, reducing potential out-of-pocket costs for consumers by up to $2,000.
  • A market leading catastrophic plan that adds prescription drug coverage.
  • WiseEssentials Rx will provide consumers seeking catastrophic coverage the additional benefit of up to $3,000 in prescription drug coverage. No other catastrophic plan in Washington State combines multiple office visits, preventive tests at no cost, and now prescription drug coverage.
  • Access to a national network of healthcare providers to better serve members.
  • All LifeWise individual members will have access to a nationwide network as of January 1, 2010. Partnership with PHCS/Multiplan will provide members with access to more than 500,000 unique practitioners and 5,500 hospitals and ambulatory services across the country – in addition to the extensive LifeWise provider network in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska.

“This is a big step forward,” said Jeff Roe, President & CEO of Lifewise Health Plan of Washington. “Three years ago we made a commitment to providing first-dollar coverage of preventive care for our members. This was the right thing to do, and we have indications that commitment may also be contributing to an improved cost trend. We’re very happy to be offering expanded benefits while keeping rate increases below the rest of the market.”

The issue of trends in rising healthcare costs is important. Steady increases in the cost of medical care have resulted in double-digit rate increases across the individual market in recent years, from health plans across Washington State. LifeWise recently filed for a much lower increase of 7.4%, significantly below recent trends in the marketplace. While by no means an indicator that the problem is solved, this is a positive sign that steps to control costs – including by emphasizing the value of preventive care – can have an impact.

LifeWise is offering opportunities now to take advantages of these benefit improvements taking effect January 1, 2010. Customers purchasing LifeWise products during October, November, and December will be able to transition to equivalent new and improved product offerings without the need for additional underwriting as is otherwise standard in the individual marketplace. This will provide even more value to LifeWise customers.

Finally, LifeWise members will also soon be able to access enhanced online features, allowing them to manage their benefit dollars and health in one location. LifeWise expects to announce more about these online features in coming weeks.

Please call 1-800-592-6804 for more information on these expanded benefits and options for consumers.

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