Alternative Medicine Becomes Optional Benefit For Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina

Apr 03, 2001, 01:00 ET from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina

    COLUMBIA, S.C., April 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of
 South Carolina will be the first health insurer in South Carolina to provide
 benefits covering alternative medicine therapies through its HMO Blue
 subsidiary.  HMO Blue has signed a letter of intent with American Specialty
 Health Networks(TM) (ASHN) to administer the new benefits plan for its managed
 care program.  The new benefits will cover chiropractic, acupuncture and
 massage therapy and are offered through Natural Blue, Blue Cross' alternative
 and complementary medicine program.
     The program will allow HMO Blue members to self-refer to participating
 chiropractors and acupuncturists.  Members also will have access to massage
 therapists upon referral from their primary care physicians.  The benefit plan
 includes a copayment and an annual office visit limit.  HMO Blue members will
 have access to ASHN's network of licensed and credentialed chiropractors,
 acupuncture providers and massage therapists in South Carolina.  HMO Blue will
 offer the complementary and alternative medicine benefit as an optional
 feature to employer groups beginning June 1.
     Rick Gallion, director of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Blue
 Cross, said, "We are excited to take the next step toward integrating
 complementary and alternative programs with our other insurance products.  Our
 Natural Blue program illustrates our commitment to providing our members with
 more options that promote better health and wellness."
     Tom Faulds, president and chief operating officer of the company's Blue
 Cross division, said, "Once again, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South
 Carolina is a leader in offering alternative programs to our members.  We are
 the first in the state to provide coverage for complementary methods of
 healthcare.  We were the first in the state, as well, when we launched Natural
 Blue, our alternative medicine discount program, in January 2000.  Our members
 have asked for greater access to such providers, and we have listened."
     "We welcome this opportunity to strengthen and expand our relationship
 with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina," said George DeVries,
 president and CEO of American Specialty Health.  "We are pleased that we are
 able to work with HMO Blue to meet the growing consumer demand for
 complementary and alternative benefits."
     Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina is the largest health
 insurance provider in South Carolina, with more than 1.3 million members.  It
 is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.  HMO
 Blue's goal is to help members stay healthy with a focus on preventive care
 and early detection by offering a wide range of health benefits and services.
     ASHN provides managed care programs nationwide to health plans, insurance
 carriers, employer groups and trust funds.  Its affiliate, American Specialty
 Health Plans (R) of California (ASHP), is the nation's first and largest
 health plan for chiropractic and acupuncture services.  Together, ASHP and
 ASHN cover more than 40 million members nationwide.
 
 

SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina
    COLUMBIA, S.C., April 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of
 South Carolina will be the first health insurer in South Carolina to provide
 benefits covering alternative medicine therapies through its HMO Blue
 subsidiary.  HMO Blue has signed a letter of intent with American Specialty
 Health Networks(TM) (ASHN) to administer the new benefits plan for its managed
 care program.  The new benefits will cover chiropractic, acupuncture and
 massage therapy and are offered through Natural Blue, Blue Cross' alternative
 and complementary medicine program.
     The program will allow HMO Blue members to self-refer to participating
 chiropractors and acupuncturists.  Members also will have access to massage
 therapists upon referral from their primary care physicians.  The benefit plan
 includes a copayment and an annual office visit limit.  HMO Blue members will
 have access to ASHN's network of licensed and credentialed chiropractors,
 acupuncture providers and massage therapists in South Carolina.  HMO Blue will
 offer the complementary and alternative medicine benefit as an optional
 feature to employer groups beginning June 1.
     Rick Gallion, director of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Blue
 Cross, said, "We are excited to take the next step toward integrating
 complementary and alternative programs with our other insurance products.  Our
 Natural Blue program illustrates our commitment to providing our members with
 more options that promote better health and wellness."
     Tom Faulds, president and chief operating officer of the company's Blue
 Cross division, said, "Once again, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South
 Carolina is a leader in offering alternative programs to our members.  We are
 the first in the state to provide coverage for complementary methods of
 healthcare.  We were the first in the state, as well, when we launched Natural
 Blue, our alternative medicine discount program, in January 2000.  Our members
 have asked for greater access to such providers, and we have listened."
     "We welcome this opportunity to strengthen and expand our relationship
 with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina," said George DeVries,
 president and CEO of American Specialty Health.  "We are pleased that we are
 able to work with HMO Blue to meet the growing consumer demand for
 complementary and alternative benefits."
     Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina is the largest health
 insurance provider in South Carolina, with more than 1.3 million members.  It
 is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.  HMO
 Blue's goal is to help members stay healthy with a focus on preventive care
 and early detection by offering a wide range of health benefits and services.
     ASHN provides managed care programs nationwide to health plans, insurance
 carriers, employer groups and trust funds.  Its affiliate, American Specialty
 Health Plans (R) of California (ASHP), is the nation's first and largest
 health plan for chiropractic and acupuncture services.  Together, ASHP and
 ASHN cover more than 40 million members nationwide.
 
 SOURCE  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina