Consistent with its commitment to being a valued health care partner, WellPoint (NYSE: WLP) today announced an initiative to make its affiliated health plan websites, mobile applications, and print information more accessible and inclusive for all members. WellPoint’s initiative will especially improve the member experience for health plan members with visual impairments. WellPoint has adopted the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0 level AA as its accessibility standard and has already made substantial enhancements as part of its work toward meeting this standard. WellPoint has also expanded its system for providing Braille, Large Print, electronic, and audio versions of print information to health plan members with visual impairments.
WellPoint has worked with representatives of the blind community to enhance its communications for health plan members with visual impairments:
“With this announcement, WellPoint has assumed an important leadership role across the United States in serving its members who are visually impaired,” said Steven Mendelsohn, a California resident who has been a member of WellPoint’s California health plan for many years and has been blind since birth. “I applaud the company’s significant efforts in ensuring that I and other people with visual impairments will be able to independently read important health care information.”
Sam Chen, another health plan member who is blind, and who worked with WellPoint on its initiative for members with visual impairments, was also excited about today’s announcement: “Getting health care information in Braille, and being able to use WellPoint’s digital tools independently, are very important to me as a blind consumer,” said Chen. “This program builds on WellPoint’s excellent reputation in the field of health care, and I value being associated with a company that recognizes the needs of all members, including those with visual impairments.”
About the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
The WCAG 2.0 guidelines are promulgated by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and ensure that sites are more accessible to persons with visual and other disabilities. Many members of WellPoint affiliated plans will not notice any differences to the site or the mobile applications, as the Guidelines do not affect digital content or look and feel. The guidelines are of particular benefit to blind computer users who use screen reader voice output, braille output or magnification technology on their computers and mobile devices and who, like many individuals with mobility impairments, rely on a keyboard instead of a mouse for navigation.