CHICAGO, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
announced today it will provide its 780,000 HMO members with a new
complementary healthcare discount program, BlueExtras, that will be
administered by American Specialty Health Networks (ASHN), the nation's first
and largest health plan for chiropractic and acupuncture services.
Effective January 1, 2000, HMO Illinois (HMOI) and Blue Advantage HMO
members will have direct access to ASHN's credentialled network of
chiropractors, acupuncturists and massage therapists in Illinois, as well as
throughout the country. No physician referrals or claim forms will be
required. Members need only to show their Blue Cross and Blue Shield
membership card to be eligible.
Participating providers, who will be paid directly by their patients, have
agreed to accept a 25 percent reduction in their fees for members of HMOI and
Blue Advantage HMO.
"We are excited to offer this program to our members," said Rick
Allegretti, Vice President/Sales HMO Products for Blue Cross and Blue Shield
of Illinois. "Our members have been asking for more access to complementary
methods of medical care, and BlueExtras provides them with direct access to
licensed chiropractors, acupuncturists and massage therapists, completely at
HMOI and Blue Advantage HMO will provide members with information on the
network through newsletters, brochures and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of
Illinois Web site. Members also will have access to ASHN's national network
of fitness clubs at a "best pricing" level and can receive unlimited free one-
week introductory certificates.
In addition, Healthyroads.com, an ASHN affiliate, will offer a
comprehensive Internet source for complementary healthcare resources and
information for HMOI and Blue Advantage HMO members. Healthyroads.com will be
linked to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Web site, www.bcbsil.com,
and it will include:
-- Educational Resources: comprehensive information on complementary and
-- Product Retailing: guaranteed low pricing on more than 1,200
nutritional supplements, books, tapes and other products. ASHN
conducts third-party testing of the products offered in order to
maintain quality control.
-- Network Access: a national network directory of chiropractors,
acupuncturists, massage therapists and fitness clubs participating in
the ASHN network. Through this website, members will easily locate a
participating complementary healthcare provider anywhere in the
country, obtain travel instructions and get a certificate to access
their chosen provider.
"Complementary healthcare is of one of healthcare's most rapidly growing
areas, and it is in high demand by consumers," said George DeVries, President
and CEO of American Specialty Health Networks (ASHN). "We are pleased to
partner with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois to provide their Network
Access networks and management systems as well as cutting edge internet and e-
This agreement with ASHN marks the second time this year that Blue Cross
and Blue Shield of Illinois has introduced complementary healthcare options to
Beginning in January, HMOI offered members the ability to select a
chiropractor as their primary care physician.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, the oldest and largest health
insurance company in Illinois, began in 1936 as Hospital Service Corporation
and officially adopted the Blue Cross symbol in 1939. Currently, Blue Cross
and Blue Shield of Illinois provides health insurance coverage for more than
3 million people in Illinois.
ASHN provides network access programs and managed care programs nationwide
to health plans, insurance carriers, employer groups and trust funds. Its
affiliate, ASHP, is the nation's first and largest health plan for
chiropractic and acupuncture services, operating in California.
ASHN/ASHP provides comprehensive services including utilization
management, quality management, member and provider services, claims and
credentialing. ASHN/ASHP have received seven full two-year accreditations
from the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission/URAC. Together, ASHP
and ASHN cover more than 13 million members nationwide.
SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois