WellPoint Offers Disabled Consumers Free Access to Assistive Technology

Online Solution Offered Through Alliance with eSSENTIAL Accessibility™

Oct 18, 2011, 12:17 ET from WellPoint, Inc.

INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP) is announcing an alliance with eSSENTIAL Accessibility™ to offer an online solution that assists individuals who have difficulty typing, moving a mouse or reading a web page. With the help of eSSENTIAL Accessibility, WellPoint is taking a major step to enable visitors with physical disabilities to access health plan and benefit information, including an online doctor finder tool as well as claims details and wellness materials.

The launch is part of a Disability Community Involvement Initiative created by eSSENTIAL Accessibility in partnership with leading advocacy groups for the disabled such as The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and March of Dimes of Canada. eSSENTIAL Accessibility is leading this initiative to bridge the digital divide for those with physical disabilities by bringing WellPoint and other global organizations together to connect with and empower people with disabilities in a meaningful way. Using eSSENTIAL Accessibility's online solution, WellPoint is making assistive technology available for free, extending online access to important health plan information and services for more consumers.

Website visitors simply click on an icon to download keyboard and mouse replacement solutions for free, including a webcam-based hands-free movement tracking system, a page reader, predictive typing and other customizable options. The online tools can be used on a standard PC by people who have dexterity challenges or reading difficulties arising from a variety of conditions, including stroke, paralysis, arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's disease, cerebral palsy, dyslexia and other issues. To see the eSSENTIAL Accessibility online solution in action, visit www.wellpoint.com.

"We are proud to offer this assistive technology to help disabled individuals," said Lori Beer, executive vice president of WellPoint's Enterprise Business Services division, and co-chair of ABLE, the company's resource group for associates with disabilities. "With this online solution, our health plan tools and services are more readily accessible to all consumers. This is one important way we are working to fulfill our mission to improve the lives of the people we serve and the health of our communities."

According to Linda Jimenez, chief diversity officer and vice president – diversity & inclusion for WellPoint, "We have taken an exciting step forward to help improve access to health plan information for the disabled community. WellPoint is committed to inclusive treatment of people with disabilities; the company has received multiple awards for this commitment, as well as for our business and supplier growth strategies. Most notably, Careers and the disABLED magazine named WellPoint as a Top 50 Employer for the past five years. Last year, the company became a founding partner of the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) Supplier Diversity Program." WellPoint is ranked number 36 on the 2011 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity® list.

About WellPoint, Inc.

WellPoint works to simplify the connection between Health, Care and Value. We help to improve the health of our members and our communities, and provide greater value to our customers and shareholders. WellPoint is the nation's largest health benefits company in terms of medical membership, with 34 million members in its affiliated health plans, and a total of more than 69 million individuals served through its subsidiaries.  As an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, WellPoint serves 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 the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin.  In a majority of these service areas, WellPoint's plans do business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, or Empire Blue Cross (in the New York service areas).  WellPoint also serves customers throughout the country as UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at www.wellpoint.com. For more information about WellPoint's diversity and corporate responsibility efforts, see the company's Corporate Responsibility Report.

About eSSENTIAL Accessibility™

eSSENTIAL Accessibility™ makes online environments instantly accessible to individuals with physical disabilities.  It is a virtual wheelchair for websites that empowers users with dexterity limitations that arise from a variety of conditions including stroke, paralysis, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and Parkinson's disease among others.  Moreover, it also helps those who have difficulty reading because of literacy deficiencies, limited English proficiency, dyslexia, or mild visual impairment.  Organizations feature the eSSENTIAL Accessibility™ icon as part of a Disability Community Involvement initiative sponsored by leading advocacy groups for the disabled.  The symbol displayed on the homepage acts as a clickable icon through which visitors can obtain the assistive technology they require free of charge. For more information, visit www.essentialaccessibility.com.

SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.