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Insurer’s call center informs patients, may lower costs

Des Moines Register, July 16, 2008

Some former healthcare professionals are working for Iowa's largest health insurer in a new role that company leaders hope will help members avoid costly illnesses. Using a call center, Iowans have can have conversations about their ailments with nurses or specially trained "health coaches," who work for Healthways, a contractor of Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Wellmark representatives say the company can use its high-tech capabilities to track patients in ways that independent doctors' offices can't. The call-center nurses routinely encourage patients to go in to their doctors for tests and checkups. The service helps the doctors keep patients well, instead of having patients come in just when they are in a crisis, the representatives say.