Empire BlueCross BlueShield Launches healthychat.com to Answer Questions about Health Care Reform

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August 10, 2010 
Media Contacts: 
 
Sally Kweskin,
Empire BlueCross BlueShield
(720) 373-4836
sally.kweskin@empireblue.com  
 
 
August 10, 2010 – New York – Health care reform will impact every American in some way. The question is how and when? The healthychat.com website was created to address the many questions consumers have about health insurance. Since its launch on May 1, thousands have viewed healthychat.com, creating a community forum addressing myriad health care questions. 
Through the forum provided by healthychat.com consumers have a great opportunity to have their health reform questions answered, such as will my premiums go up because of health care reform? How does the health care reform legislation affect preventive care benefits? When can I add my child who is 23 back on to my health plan?  
“Our goal is to create a straight-forward, honest dialogue between individuals and us,” said Mark Wagar, President and CEO, Empire BlueCross BlueShield. “By offering a forum on healthychat.com, we are providing an interactive place where consumers can participate in an open discussion about health benefits and the impact of health care reform.”  
The discussions on healthychat.com are driven by the users of the site. In addition to posing questions, the healthychat.com site also provides access to social media components such as Twitter and FaceBook, www.facebook.com/healthychat and Twitter@healthy_chat, respectively. These features expand on the current use of social media being by Empire, most notably in a campaign to engage consumers in interactive programs to help improve their health and the health of those around them.  
A key component of the ongoing campaign is the utilization of social media to reach members and consumers beyond traditional broadcast and print media. It introduced people to the Health Footprint, a measure of health influence and consumers are invited to a microsite where they can calculate their own Health Footprint.  A Facebook page, Twitter feed and YouTube channel support the effort, and Bob Harper from “The Biggest Loser” also has joined the cause, regularly adding his own inspiring perspective on living a healthier life.  
Wagar added, “healthychat.com provides another great tool to reach, and engage, more individuals. It illustrates further growth in our use of technology and social media to reach consumers more quickly and efficiently and is part of our overall effort to improve service, quality and help improve people’s health. We hope that consumers will find these tools valuable as they navigate the health care reform changes, and as they look for ways to improve their own health, and the health of those around them.”  

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