Blue Cross Breaks the Mold by Offering Uninsured ``Young Invincibles``
New Options; Simple, Online, All-Inclusive Health Coverage .
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE via COLLEGIATE PRESSWIRE)--Nov
17, 2004--Blue Cross of California`s (Blue Cross) affiliate, BC
Life & Health Insurance Company, has broken the mold of traditional
health insurance offerings by marketing unique health plans tailored
to the lifestyle and attitudes of ''young invincibles'' (young adults
ages 19 to 29).
There are 6.5 million uninsured Californians. Young adults have
the highest rate of being uninsured, consistently reported between
30 and 40 percent. ''Young invincibles'' tend to be people no longer
covered by family insurance policies and just beginning to establish
their independence. They are also starting their careers and less
likely to be offered insurance by their employers. Nearly half of
all full-time workers aged 19 to 29 lack employer-based health benefits.
Tonik health plans were designed by-and for-''young invincibles,''
as an effort to expand access to health care coverage for one of
the fastest growing uninsured populations in the state and the country.
Tonik plans are simple, easy to use and affordable. Tonik covers
everyday preventive needs (like routine doctor visits) as well as
the more serious medical necessities. Unlike other individual policies
on the market, seeing a dentist, getting eye exams, glasses and
contacts are all-inclusive within the new benefit design.
Curious ''young invincibles'' can visit and apply for Tonik online
Applicants are subject to review and approval for a plan within
minutes. Tonikhealth.com is intentionally easy to understand and
navigate. There is minimal to no paperwork and if approved, an applicant
can print out a custom-designed identification card.
''Young adults think of insurance like broccoli,'' said Steve Synott,
general manager of Individual Services for Blue Cross of California.
''They know it`s good for them but they don`t have a taste for it
yet.'' As a result, many go without it. There are currently an estimated
1.6 million uninsured 19 to 29-year-olds in California. The financial
pain of a sports related injury or other unforeseen event can outweigh
the physical. Consider the following: an ambulance ride to the hospital
is $607; the average cost of a day in the hospital is $7,175; and
knee surgery and care is estimated at $48,302. The costs of Tonik
plans are painless. They range from $64 to $123 a month, depending
upon the plan, the insured`s age and where they live.
There`s nothing out there quite like this...Tonik is an original!
In a unique approach to product development, Blue Cross engaged
in a ''reverse point-of-view'' philosophy by examining the preferences
and lifestyles of uninsured young adults. Blue Cross research indicated
that they are interested in health insurance, if it met their needs
and was offered at the right price. ''The more research we did to
understand this group, the more we became convinced that the `young
invincibles` were willing and ready to take responsibility for their
own health care -- if they found a plan that fit their needs,''
said Deborah Lachman, senior vice president of Individual and Small
Group Services for Blue Cross of California.
Tonik will initially be available only in California and debuts
though a series of non-traditional marketing techniques.
Extreme skiing and Tonik unite
To demonstrate that this is not your typical health insurance program,
Blue Cross is launching Tonik through a groundbreaking marketing
campaign that will have a heavy emphasis on online promotion and
advertising because this audience is a heavy utilizer of the Internet.
Non-traditional high energy graphics and advertising themes have
been designed to appeal to this group as well. In addition, the
company is a sponsor for the upcoming statewide launch of the new
Warren Miller film ''IMPACT,'' to premiere in key cities throughout
California beginning this month.
Blue Cross of California and its California affiliates, serving
more than 7.6 million medical members, is an operating subsidiary
of WellPoint Health Networks Inc., the nation`s second largest publicly
traded health care company. WellPoint serves the health care needs
of 15.6 million medical members and 46.8 million specialty members
nationally. WellPoint offers a broad spectrum of quality network-based
health products including open access PPO, POS and hybrid products,
HMO and specialty products. Specialty products include pharmacy
benefit management, dental, utilization management, vision, mental
health, life and disability insurance, long term care insurance,
flexible spending accounts, COBRA administration, and Medicare supplements.
Blue Cross of California can be found on the web at bluecrossca.com.
Blue Cross of California is an independent licensee of the Blue
Blue Cross of California