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FIFTEEN THOUSAND PENNSYLVANIANS ENROLLED IN NEW STATEWIDE SPECIAL CARE

FIFTEEN THOUSAND PENNSYLVANIANS ENROLLED IN NEW STATEWIDE SPECIAL CARE
 CAMP HILL, Pa., July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 15,000 Pennsylvanians have enrolled in Special Care, a low-cost health insurance program which has been made available from the state's Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans since June 1.
 Special Care, specifically designed for low- and moderate-income Pennsylvanians under age 65, is generating the most response from individuals aged 18 to 40, and with those without employer-paid health care coverage, according to a plan official. Calls received from individuals aged 18 to 40 on a toll-free number to Special Care represented 61 percent of all eligible calls during June, double that of the 41 to 60 age group.
 "Our conversations with applicants tell us they're pleased with the coverage," said George Grode, senior vice president, corporate affairs of Pennsylvania Blue Shield, explaining reactions heard from callers to a toll-free telephone number made available to the public during May, June and July. "For many subscribers now enrolled, they felt that Special Care was their only affordable option for insuring the health of their families. Those individuals haven't hesitated in expressing their gratitude for Special Care."
 Special Care, averaging about half the price of standard coverage, involves thousand of participating physicians and hospitals statewide that accept specially discounted levels of reimbursement for covered services. The statewide program is patterned after a two-year-old Special Care program offered by Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania. Including the earlier subscribers from western Pennsylvania, Special Care has enrolled 32,000 Pennsylvanians.
 Enrollment applications for Special Care were accepted by Blue Cross and Blue Shield on May 1, with coverage for enrolled subscribers beginning June 1. Monthly premiums range from approximately $62 to $75 for one person, depending on where an individual lives in the state. Monthly premiums for a family of four range from $122 to $198.
 "Over 15,000 new Special Care subscribers at this early date is a strong start, but not surprising," said Grode. "Special Care was developed to answer a critical need for many people in this state at an affordable price. That audience, particularly adults under 40 years of age with dependent children, has responded appreciatively to this much- needed program." Information gathered from individuals wishing to enroll in Special Care confirms that the majority of applicants are under the age of 40 and interested in family coverage.
 Although low-priced, Special Care provides full payment for covered hospitalization and professional health care services. The coverage also includes preventive services such as home and office visits for children and adults. Special Care is available to:
 -- One person earning $12,000 or less per year.
 -- Two-person families earning $16,000 or less.
 -- Three-person families earning $20,000 or less.
 -- Families of four earning $24,000 or less.
 As with most coverage offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield in this state, accessibility to community-rated Special Care is not restricted by health status, occupation or age. Those who are older or who have medical problems are not charged a higher premium.
 Pennsylvania's rate of uninsured is among the lowest in the country, at an estimated 8 to 10 percent of the population. Blue Cross and Blue Shield insure 6.8 million Pennsylvanians, or more than half of the state's population.
 Special Care was developed through a statewide task force involving Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania, Capital Blue Cross, Independence Blue Cross and Pennsylvania Blue Shield. Enrollment information is available by calling (in the respective Blue Cross area):
 -- Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania: 717-829-8500 (Wilkes- Barre); 717-346-7517 (Scranton); 717-454-7900 (Hazelton); 717-839-6050 (Poconos).
 -- Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania: 800-544-6679.
 -- Capital Blue Cross: 717-255-0820 (Harrisburg); 215-820-2700 (Allentown).
 -- Independence Blue Cross: 800-453-2566.
 FACT SHEET Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans in Pennsylvania Special Care Benefits
 Special Care is low-cost health care coverage specifically designed for thousands of low- and moderate-income Pennsylvanians who currently have no health insurance.
 Blue Cross and Blue Shield Special Care will provide full payment for essential hospitalization and professional health services. The proposed coverage also will include preventive services for children and adults. No annual deductibles are required. There are no lifetime maximums associated
with Special Care. And except where noted, there will be no out-of-pocket expenses. Specific benefits follow:
 Standard Blue Cross and Blue Shield Benefits.
 -- Surgery/anesthesia (inpatient/outpatient)
 -- Inpatient -- diagnostic services
 -- Emergency accident and medical treatment
 -- Maternity/newborn care
 -- Chemotherapy/radiation therapy
 Benefit Modifications
 -- 21 days inpatient care (hospital/medical) -- renewable after 90 consecutive days out of the hospital
 -- Outpatient diagnostic services ($1,000 annual maximum)
 -- Hospital and surgery review programs
 Primary Care/Wellness
 -- 4 annual doctor visits per person ($10 copayment)
 -- Comprehensive preventive care for children (physician visits, immunizations, pathology)
 -- Routine annual mammogram and pap smear for women
 The benefits package does not include:
 -- Substance abuse treatment
 -- Mental health care
 -- Skilled nursing care
 -- Prescription drugs
 /delval/
 -0- 7/27/92
 /CONTACT: Bill Bachman of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, 717-829-6034; Diane Wuycheck of Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania, 412-255-7697; Scott Dugan of Capital Blue Cross, 717-541-6134; Jim Panyard of Independence Blue Cross, 215-241-3101; or Doug Smith of Pennsylvania Blue Shield, 717-763-6526/ CO: Pennsylvania Blue Cross and Blue Shield ST: Pennsylvania IN: INS SU: PDT


JS-CC -- PH023 -- 3675 07/27/92 16:39 EDT
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Date:Jul 27, 1992
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