S.C. BlueChoice HealthPlan Launches Childhood Obesity Program

October 7, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – October 6, 2008 – South Carolina ranks in the top seven states with the highest proportion of overweight or obese children. Recognizing this problem, BlueChoice(R) HealthPlan of South Carolina has incorporated a new disease management program into its health plans.

The new Great Expectations(R)† for health program is called Healthy and Active Kids. Children in the company’s plans who are identified as overweight or obese are automatically enrolled, and they and their families will receive tips and encouragement for healthy lifestyle behaviors and fun educational materials designed for children. Eligible members will receive a visit with a registered dietitian.

These children are more likely to face many adult health risks, conditions such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, asthma and psychosocial risks. If we can prevent that now, we can help them be healthier in the future and increase their quality of life, said BlueChoice HealthPlan President Mary Mazzola Spivey.

South Carolina leads the nation in the percentage of children (54.5 percent) who don’t participate in after-school team sports or lessons, according to an analysis by the S.C. Rural Health Research Center at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health. The center also found that South Carolina ranked sixth in the highest proportion of overweight children, seventh in the highest proportion of children who are obese, and tenth in the highest proportion of children who fail to meet physical activity recommendations.

BlueChoice HealthPlan has other Great Expectations programs in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, maternity, diabetes, back care, children’s health, depression, heart disease, heart failure, men’s health, women’s health, migraine, weight loss, and smoking cessation. These programs are overseen by medical professionals at BlueChoice HealthPlan and serve as support for care plans developed by BlueChoice HealthPlan members’ doctors.

More than 200,000 people in South Carolina are enrolled in Great Expectations.

Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina (www.BlueChoiceSC.com) is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BlueChoice HealthPlan has an A+ rating from A.M. Best and an Excellent accreditation status, the highest level awarded, from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). BlueChoice HealthPlan has more than 7,000 physicians in its statewide network and serves approximately 212,000 members statewide. It offers four group health plans, one individual plan for children, and a South Carolina Medicaid product.