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Tonik Press Release

Affordable options available to help the growing number of uninsured recent grads

Denver -- May 13 -- Spring is here, bringing with it an important milestone for many young adults -- college graduation. Graduating from college represents a transition from partial to complete independence. While some graduates continue on to graduate studies, many either take some time off or enter the workforce - an exciting time that also happens to be coupled with several financial and lifestyle obstacles.

Upon graduation, many young adults lose their eligibility for health insurance coverage. Former students are no longer covered by their school's insurance plan and many are no longer considered eligible as dependents on their parents' plans. As a result, many young adults join the ranks of the 47 million Americans who are uninsured, making recent grads the fastest growing segment of the uninsured population.

According to a recent report by the Commonwealth Fund, nearly 40 percent of college graduates and half of high school graduates who do not enroll in college have no health insurance coverage at some point during their first year after graduation.

Many graduates don't know how long their job search will last and are reluctant to purchase coverage they feel is unnecessary. The challenge for these twenty-somethings is finding a flexible policy that provides coverage for up to six or 12 months that also allows them to pay for coverage one month at a time. Once they obtain permanent coverage through an employer, they can simply stop paying the month-to-month premium.

Individual medical insurance can give recent graduates and their parents valuable peace of mind by protecting them from the devastating financial impact a catastrophic illness or accident can cause.

"We know that young adults are facing the challenge of seeking health coverage that is affordable," said John Martie, president, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Colorado. "Anthem has created innovative coverage options, like Tonik and Lumenos Consumer-Driven Health Plans that deliver practical coverage for a reasonable price."

Though policy costs vary according to age, gender and location, they're typically about one-third the cost of coverage through COBRA. Individual policies are easy to purchase.

TONIK comes to Georgia, Connecticut and New Hampshire

ATLANTA, Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Young adults between the ages of 19 and 34 -- also known as "young invincibles" -- represent one of the largest and fastest-growing segments of the population without health insurance. Almost 17 million "young invincibles" are uninsured throughout the country, including 40,000 in Georgia, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. To help address this issue, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia , the state's largest health benefits provider, announced today the launch of Tonik -- unique health insurance options for Georgia's "young invincibles," designed to decrease the number of Georgia's uninsured.

"Young invincibles" typically are no longer covered by family insurance policies and are just beginning to establish their independence. They are also just beginning their careers and less likely to be offered or purchase health insurance from their employers.

"Tonik is an important product that allows this growing demographic to purchase coverage on their own terms," said Monye Connolly, president, BCBSGa. "We asked 'young invincibles' what they were looking for in a health plan, and we listened. The end result is Tonik -- a plan that makes it easy to understand the concepts and terminology associated with health insurance and provides easy access to a health insurance product they can relate to."

Tonik health plans were designed with input from "young invincibles" throughout the country in an effort to create the most appropriate product possible in order to decrease the numbers of uninsured and expand access to health care coverage. This product -- first introduced in 2004 -- has already been launched in California, Colorado and Nevada. Approximately 78 percent of current Tonik enrollees were previously uninsured.

BCBSGa is offering three Tonik plans -- flexible PPO products that include medical, pharmacy, dental and vision. Prices depend on the plan and the insured's age, medical history and where they live.

"We found through our research that this group wants head-to-toe coverage in one easy-to-understand product. And with Tonik plans beginning at less than $100 a month, we are able to offer the type of coverage they are looking for at rates most 'young invincibles' can afford," said Connolly. "By introducing innovative new products and services like Tonik, BCBSGa is constantly working to improve our members' health, enhance health care quality and address affordability for our members."

Tonik Breaks the Mold by offering uninsured new options; Simple, Online, All-Inclusive Health Coverage from their Tonik website. 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.

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. Applicants are subject to review and approval for a plan within minutes. Tonikplans.com 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 Anthem 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 $64 to $123 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, Anthem Blue Cross engaged in a "reverse point-of-view" philosophy by examining the preferences and lifestyles of uninsured young adults. Anthem 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 Anthem 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, Anthem 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.

 
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