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Blue Cross Tonik News

Blue Cross Breaks the Mold by Offering Uninsured ``Young Invincibles`` New Options; Simple, Online, All-Inclusive Health Coverage .

Tonik health insurance

Wednesday, November 17, 2004 4:00 PM

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE via COLLEGIATE PRESSWIRE)--Nov 17, 2004--Blue Cross of California`s (Blue Cross) affiliate, BC Life & Health Insurance Company, has broken the mold of traditional health insurance offerings by marketing unique health plans tailored to the lifestyle and attitudes of ''young invincibles'' (young adults ages 19 to 29).

There are 6.5 million uninsured Californians. Young adults have the highest rate of being uninsured, consistently reported between 30 and 40 percent. ''Young invincibles'' tend to be people no longer covered by family insurance policies and just beginning to establish their independence. They are also starting their careers and less likely to be offered insurance by their employers. Nearly half of all full-time workers aged 19 to 29 lack employer-based health benefits.
blue cross tonik
Tonik health plans were designed by-and for-''young invincibles,'' as an effort to expand access to health care coverage for one of the fastest growing uninsured populations in the state and the country. Tonik plans are simple, easy to use and affordable. Tonik covers everyday preventive needs (like routine doctor visits) as well as the more serious medical necessities. Unlike other individual policies on the market, seeing a dentist, getting eye exams, glasses and contacts are all-inclusive within the new benefit design.

Curious ''young invincibles'' can visit and apply for Tonik online at Applicants are subject to review and approval for a plan within minutes. is intentionally easy to understand and navigate. There is minimal to no paperwork and if approved, an applicant can print out a custom-designed identification card.

''Young adults think of insurance like broccoli,'' said Steve Synott, general manager of Individual Services for Blue Cross of California. ''They know it`s good for them but they don`t have a taste for it yet.'' As a result, many go without it. There are currently an estimated 1.6 million uninsured 19 to 29-year-olds in California. The financial pain of a sports related injury or other unforeseen event can outweigh the physical. Consider the following: an ambulance ride to the hospital is $607; the average cost of a day in the hospital is $7,175; and knee surgery and care is estimated at $48,302. The costs of Tonik plans are painless. They range from $69to $142 a month, depending upon the plan, the insured`s age and where they live.

There`s nothing out there quite like this...Tonik is an original!

In a unique approach to product development, Blue Cross engaged in a ''reverse point-of-view'' philosophy by examining the preferences and lifestyles of uninsured young adults. Blue Cross research indicated that they are interested in health insurance, if it met their needs and was offered at the right price. ''The more research we did to understand this group, the more we became convinced that the `young invincibles` were willing and ready to take responsibility for their own health care -- if they found a plan that fit their needs,'' said Deborah Lachman, senior vice president of Individual and Small Group Services for Blue Cross of California.

Tonik will initially be available only in California and debuts though a series of non-traditional marketing techniques.

Extreme skiing and Tonik unite

To demonstrate that this is not your typical health insurance program, Blue Cross is launching Tonik through a groundbreaking marketing campaign that will have a heavy emphasis on online promotion and advertising because this audience is a heavy utilizer of the Internet. Non-traditional high energy graphics and advertising themes have been designed to appeal to this group as well. In addition, the company is a sponsor for the upcoming statewide launch of the new Warren Miller film ''IMPACT,'' to premiere in key cities throughout California beginning this month.

Blue Cross of California
and its California affiliates, serving more than 7.6 million medical members, is an operating subsidiary of WellPoint Health Networks Inc., the nation`s second largest publicly traded health care company. WellPoint serves the health care needs of 15.6 million medical members and 46.8 million specialty members nationally. WellPoint offers a broad spectrum of quality network-based health products including open access PPO, POS and hybrid products, HMO and specialty products. Specialty products include pharmacy benefit management, dental, utilization management, vision, mental health, life and disability insurance, long term care insurance, flexible spending accounts, COBRA administration, and Medicare supplements. Blue Cross of California can be found on the web at Blue Cross of California is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Association.

Source: Blue Cross of California
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