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WellPoint Affiliated Health Plans Send Pill Boxes To Medicare Members At Risk Of Not Taking Medications

WellPoint, Inc. and its affiliated health plans (WellPoint) have distributed pill boxes at no extra cost to more than 187,000 members of Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans across the country as a friendly reminder for them to take their medicines.

Medication adherence is an important issue for anyone, but particularly for seniors who are more prone to chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension. According to one study, people with chronic diseases typically take only 50 percent of doses prescribed by their doctors, costing the system more than $100 billion annually, due primarily to hospitalizations that otherwise could have been avoided. i

There are a number of reasons people don’t take their medications. Perhaps the most common is simple forgetfulness.

To address this, WellPoint identified Medicare members on long-term medications who were having difficulty with adherence and sent them pill boxes. The clear boxes are designed to hold a week of medication, including vitamins and over-the-counter drugs. The boxes help members keep their pills organized, and remind them when a dose is due or missed and when refills are needed.

“It’s important for people to remember that their doctor prescribed their medication for a reason,” said Dr. Catherine McLean, WellPoint’s vice president of clinical quality. “They should take their drugs as they were prescribed and in the dosage prescribed. If they have any concerns, they should always contact their primary care physician before making any adjustments.”

For the sake of safety, recipients were asked to keep the boxes away from children and pets.

About WellPoint, Inc.

At WellPoint, we believe there is an important connection between our members’ health and well-being—and the value we bring our customers and shareholders. So each day we work to improve the health of our members and their communities. And, we can make a real difference since we have more than 36 million people in our affiliated health plans, and nearly 67 million people served through our 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’s plans do business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, or Empire Blue Cross (in the New York service areas). WellPoint also serves customers throughout the country as UniCare and in certain markets through our Amerigroup and CareMore subsidiaries. Our 1-800 CONTACTS, Inc. subsidiary offers customers online sales of contact lenses, eyeglasses and other ocular products. Additional information about WellPoint is available at www.wellpoint.com.

WellPoint affiliated plans are health plans with a Medicare contract.

WellPoint affiliated plans are stand-alone prescription drug plans with a Medicare contract.

i Osterberg L, Blaschke T. Adherence to medication. N Engl J Med 2005;353:487-97.

Copyright Business Wire 2010

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