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UnitedHealthcare Introduces Affordable Health Insurance Program to Chicago's Uninsured Workers.

New Belay Program Includes Simple, Affordable Health Insurance Solutions That Provide Security and Protection against Catastrophic Events

CHICAGO -- UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) company, announces the availability of a unique health insurance program called "Belay(SM)," which is specifically designed for individuals ages 35 to 54 who are working and uninsured1. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 14 percent of Illinois residents do not have health insurance. More than 7 million individuals ages 35 to 54 nationwide are working and uninsured, including 211,000 in Chicago2.

The Belay program, which is being piloted in Chicago, includes two affordable health insurance plans, Belay 100 and Belay HSA 1003. The program will be launched on Nov. 16 at a rock-climbing-themed event at Westfield North Bridge Shopping Center and will use a multi-faceted outreach campaign, which includes radio, print and online advertising, to engage Chicagoland consumers.

In rock climbing, "belay" refers to the practice of controlling the rope fed to a climber to prevent an accidental fall; the rope system provides needed security to ensure the climber's safety. UnitedHealthcare's new Belay program can provide individuals similar security, protecting them from potential financial setbacks that can result from unexpected and emergency health issues such as cancer, a heart attack or a knee injury4. Without adequate insurance, a cancer diagnosis can result in nearly $50,000 for treatment not including surgery costs, while 12 months of post-heart attack care can set someone back $26,000, according to Symmetry Health Data Systems, National ETG Benchmarks, 2006.

"The plans within the Belay program are affordable and simple health insurance options designed to provide coverage to individuals in the event of major and unexpected health crises, providing Chicago's uninsured workers with an answer to their health insurance concerns," said William Moeller, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Illinois.

"Too often, people believe that COBRA provides the only alternative to personal coverage and that health plans for individuals and families are financially out of reach or are too complicated to access," continued Moeller. "Plans within UnitedHealthcare's Belay program are an affordable alternative that can help secure the financial and personal well-being of uninsured workers."

The Belay program plans, Belay 100 and Belay HSA 100, are similar in many respects: both feature low monthly premiums, provide coverage for major medical emergencies and include basic preventive coverage5. The Belay 100 is a high-deductible plan, which may benefit individuals who just want coverage for unexpected illnesses6 or accidents. The Belay HSA 100 option is quite similar to the Belay 100 plan, but also is qualified to support a health savings account (HSA). An HSA is a tax-favored savings account created for the purpose of paying medical expenses. Contributions to HSA accounts are 100 percent deductible (within legal limits); withdrawals used to pay qualified medical expenses are not taxed; and interest earnings are tax free, if used to pay for qualified medical expenses. For costs, benefits, exclusions, limitations and renewal terms, or to apply for these plans that are underwritten by Golden Rule Insurance Company, a UnitedHealthcare company, log on to www.belayhealth.com or call 1-888-4ON-BELAY.

Chicago Campaign

On Nov. 16, UnitedHealthcare will introduce the Belay program to Chicago's uninsured workers through a public launch event and a targeted marketing campaign aimed specifically to uninsured single workers ages 35 to 54. World-renowned speed climber and three-time X-Games gold medal winner Hans Florine will be illustrating the importance of being "on belay" or secured in rock climbing at a live performance at 11 a.m. at the Westfield North Bridge Shopping Center. In addition to the rock climbing demonstrations, Florine and Project Bandaloop, an artistic performance group, will perform on climbing ropes suspended from the atrium ceiling four stories high. The event also will feature guerilla marketing teams - dressed in rock-climbing gear - that will spread the word about the Belay launch that day and across Chicagoland in the coming weeks at sports restaurants, near home improvement stores and other venues.

About UnitedHealthcare and UnitedHealthcare of Illinois

UnitedHealthcare (www.unitedhealthcare.com) provides a full spectrum of consumer-oriented health benefit plans and services, helping more than 25 million individual consumers nationwide, and nearly 1 million throughout the state of Illinois and northwest Indiana achieve improved health and well-being through various health service systems. UnitedHealthcare arranges access to quality, affordable care with more than 500,000 physicians and care professionals and 4,600 hospitals across America, including more than 16,000 physicians and 94 hospitals throughout the state of Illinois and northwest Indiana. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group, a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. Other UnitedHealth Group businesses include Ovations, AmeriChoice, Uniprise, Specialized Care Services and Ingenix.

About Golden Rule

A UnitedHealthcare company since 2003, Golden Rule currently does health insurance business in 28 states. In 1992, Golden Rule introduced the Medical Savings Account paving the way for today's HSAs.

1 Plans within the program are subject to health underwriting.

2 Simmons National Consumer Survey - FALL 2005 ADULT FULL YEAR (JAN 05-SEPT 05)

3 Marketed by Golden Rule Insurance Company, a UnitedHealthcare company, under the trade names Plan 100[R] and HSA 100[R] respectively

4 To be considered for reimbursement, expenses must qualify as covered expenses as defined in each plan.

5 Subject to the plan deductibles

6 A waiting period for illness coverage may apply
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 13, 2006
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