; Blue Cross And Blue Shield Association Online Tools Help Consumers Find Doctors And Hospitals While On The Go
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Press Release

Blue Cross And Blue Shield Association Online Tools Help Consumers Find Doctors And Hospitals While On The Go

Online tools enable members to make better informed healthcare decisions

November 17, 2011

WASHINGTON – As part of an effort to help consumers navigate healthcare resources and access information about the 90 percent of hospitals and 80 percent of physicians nationwide who participate in Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies’ provider network, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) has expanded its mobile capabilities to the Android™ platform by launching the Blue National Doctor & Hospital Findersm app for Android™.

The free app, available to anyone with an Android smartphone (both members associated with any of the 39 independent Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® companies as well as non-members) allows users to locate provider services in the Blue network or other Blue contracted providers anywhere in the country.  iPhone®, iPad®, and iPad Touch® users have access to a similar app that was released by BCBSA earlier this year.

“Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have a strong commitment to providing members with healthcare information to empower them to make the best healthcare decisions,” said Scott P. Serota, president and CEO of BCBSA.  “We are pleased that with the expansion of our app onto the Android™ platform, The Blues® are furthering our commitment to put information in the hands of consumers when and where they need it most.”

The new Android app provides mobile access to numerous features included through the Blue National Doctor & Hospital Finder available online at BCBS.com.  The app features an Urgent Care Finder, which helps consumers locate urgent care centers as an affordable and convenient alternative to emergency rooms.  The Blue National Doctor & Hospital Finder also allows individuals to search by provider name or type of care they need.  Users can also narrow their search by distance or language spoken (English or Spanish).

In addition, the app has search utilities that are customizable to an individual’s needs.  GPS navigation, an interactive map and driving directions make locating doctors and hospitals simple.  Text and e-mail options allow information collected during a search to be shared and saved.  The “click-to call” feature dials a phone number with one tap on the phone’s screen, eliminating the need to memorize a new, unfamiliar phone number.

Other online tools from BCBSA include AskBlue™, an interactive online experience from BCBSA that educates consumers and helps them navigate and understand healthcare options.  The AskBlue suite of tools includes AskBlue, launched in 2009 to help explain different insurance options; the award-winning* AskBlue Healthcare Reform guide; and AskBlue Medicare, which explains Medicare coverage choices.

Additionally, BCBSA launched an online cost comparison tool in January of this year that provides greater transparency by shedding light on the costs for dozens of the most common, elective procedures for inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, and office visit services at specified area hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers and free-standing radiology centers.  The cost comparison tool will also be updated in spring 2012 to include additional procedures.

For more information about the Blue National Doctor & Hospital Finder app, visit bcbs.com/mobile.  While the app is free, rates from wireless providers may apply.

*AskBlue Healthcare Reform guide was awarded the Silver award for Web-based Resource/Tool category in the 2011 Web Health Awards.  For more information: http://www.healthawards.com/wha/.

Blue National Doctor & Hospital Finder, The Blues and AskBlue are trademarks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.  iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Android is a trademark of Google Inc.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 105 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.