Highmark Extends Relationship With Healthways to Continue to Offer SilverSneakers® Fitness Program Through 2013

May 30, 2012, 10:00 ET from Highmark Inc.

PITTSBURGH, May 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of its long-standing commitment to improving the health and well-being of older adult members, Highmark Inc. has agreed to a two-year extension through 2013 to offer the Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY)  SilverSneakers® Fitness Program to eligible members. SilverSneakers, an exercise program designed to keep older adults active and healthy, is offered to more than 460,000 eligible Highmark Medicare Advantage members in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Using proven methodologies based upon more than 16 years of science and outcomes, the SilverSneakers Fitness Program increases physical activity in older adults, resulting in higher well-being and lower health care costs. The program engages participants in active behavior change through access to a variety of physical activity venues and senior-specific programming that incorporates physical activity, nutrition, cognitive and social experiences.

"In some of our service areas, Highmark is the only health insurance provider to offer SilverSneakers, and this relationship provides a value-added benefit that ultimately keeps our members healthy and happy," said Cindy Dellecker, senior vice president of Highmark Senior Markets.

Recent findings from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® indicate that older adults participating in SilverSneakers enjoy significantly higher overall well-being despite the increasing disease burden that comes with old age. A study in a recent edition of Population Health Management also indicates that respondents with higher well-being scores demonstrate lower utilization and hospital admittance rates.

"The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index findings demonstrate that we are on the right track by addressing the well-being among older adults in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as lower well-being directly influences health status and utilization of health services," said Ben R. Leedle, Jr., Healthways president and chief executive officer. "By continuing to offer SilverSneakers to its Medicare Advantage members, Highmark is demonstrating their ongoing commitment to their older adult members through a time-tested, proven solution that provides a unique combination of exercise and social support to improve not only the physical health of their members, but also their overall well-being."

Highmark has provided SilverSneakers access to eligible Medicare Advantage members since January 1, 2004. In 2011, more than 50 percent of new Highmark enrollees stated that their SilverSneakers membership was their first fitness center membership, with 70 percent citing personal health concerns as their reason for joining.

The SilverSneakers Fitness Program was founded in 1993 and serves more than 9 million eligible members. The Healthways fitness center network offers convenient access to 14,000 participating fitness and wellness facilities nationwide.  

About Highmark
Highmark Inc., based in Pittsburgh, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. Highmark serves 4.9 million members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware through the company's health care benefits business and is one of the largest Blue plans in the nation. Highmark has 20,000 employees across the country and provides a broad range of health and wellness related services through subsidiary and affiliate companies. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.

About Healthways
Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) is the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to produce and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans, communities and government entities.  We provide highly specific and personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize each participant's health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs.  Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years and now serves approximately 40 million people on four continents.  Learn more at www.healthways.com.

SOURCE Highmark Inc.