INDIANAPOLIS and NEW YORK, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- WellPoint, Inc., the nation's largest health benefits company, and Zagat Survey, LLC today announced the upcoming launch of a new online survey tool that will allow consumers to share their physician experiences with others. A first in the health care arena, WellPoint will begin to offer the online tool using the Zagat approach to select members in its Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield licensed subsidiaries in January 2008. "Zagat Survey has a reputation for being the world's most trusted source for information about where to eat, drink, stay and play," said Angela F. Braly, president and CEO of WellPoint. "Our partnership will enable WellPoint to capitalize on Zagat's methodology to benefit the health care industry, and will help WellPoint harness the power of the nearly 35 million members in its health plan subsidiaries to share and learn from their experiences with their doctors." The new survey tool will provide a vehicle for members to review and evaluate physicians based on a set of distinct qualities, creating a trusted resource to support informed member decision-making. Through this partnership, Zagat is helping WellPoint address an unmet need for peer-to-peer interaction among health care consumers, enabling consumers to provide feedback on their experiences with individual physicians and then rate their experience on Zagat's renowned 30-point scale. "Partnering with a trusted brand like Zagat Survey supports WellPoint's vision to deliver the most comprehensive health and wellness information to our members in an accessible, easy-to-understand format, and builds on our commitment to provide members with the data and tools necessary to help them take a more active role in their health care decision making," said Jason Gorevic, WellPoint's chief marketing and product officer. "Peer-to-peer interactions are a critical component of our consumer engagement strategy." The online survey tool will allow consumers to review their doctor visits based on: -- Trust -- Communication -- Availability -- Environment In addition, the survey will also feature a comments section, allowing members to share comments to expand on their ratings. The survey and results will be available free of charge to members via their health plans' web sites. For each network physician, the online entry will display contact information, ratings on a 30-point scale for each of the four categories, and the percentage of members who recommend that physician. The most recent comments will be displayed first, and members will have the option to rate the usefulness of comments and report suspicious comments. These categories are solely designed to reflect a consumer's experience with a physician and not to reflect the quality of care they received. "Our surveys put consumers in touch with the people they trust the most -- other consumers," said Nina Zagat, co-Founder and co-Chair of Zagat Survey. "With this tool, WellPoint is helping to give consumers the power to make smart decisions about selecting doctors based on other people's experiences." About WellPoint, Inc. WellPoint's mission is to improve the lives of the people it serves and the health of its communities. WellPoint, Inc. is the largest health benefits company in terms of commercial membership in the United States. Through its nationwide networks, the company delivers a number of leading health benefit solutions through a broad portfolio of integrated health care plans and related services, along with a wide range of specialty products such as life and disability insurance benefits, pharmacy benefit management, dental, vision, behavioral health benefit services, as well as long term care insurance and flexible spending accounts. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, WellPoint is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and serves its 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 Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as Empire Blue Cross or Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the city of Fairfax, the town of Vienna and the area east of State Route 123), Wisconsin; and through UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at www.wellpoint.com. About Zagat Survey, LLC Known as the "wildly popular" "burgundy bible", Zagat Survey is the world's most trusted source for information about where to eat, drink, stay and play. With more than 300,000 surveyors, Zagat Survey rates and reviews restaurants, hotels, nightlife, movies, music, golf, shopping and a range of other entertainment categories and is lauded as the "most up-to-date", "comprehensive" and "reliable" guide ever published. Zagat content is available to consumers wherever and whenever they need it: in book format, on ZAGAT.com, via the downloadable ZAGAT TO GO for smartphones and on the mobile web with ZAGAT.mobi. For more information, visit ZAGAT.com
SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.