Considering Surgery? Communication is Key

BlueCross BlueShield First-to-Market in Offering Surgery Decision-Making Program

In First Thirty Days, Over 8,000 Members Already Using Free, Online Tool 

It’s estimated that 48 million people undergo surgery each year in the United States and preparation plays a significant role in their overall experience and recovery process. 

The decision to have surgery is a significant one; especially as more and more individuals enroll in health insurance plans that include high deductibles and potentially greater out of pocket costs.

To help their members more effectively communicate with their doctors when considering their surgery options, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York recently introduced Welvie’s leading surgery-decision program to the market.

The local health plan’s Commercial and Medicare members have an all-access pass to the interactive, online guide at no cost. Based on their personal state of health, members have the opportunity to learn what treatment options are available, what questions they should be asking their doctor, what they can expect once a medical procedure has been determined and what they can do to ensure a speedy recovery.

“When patients are considering a surgical procedure, shared decision making and open communication with their doctor is such an important step to ensuring they receive the care that’s right for them,” said Jennifer Johengen-Vogel, Senior Director, Health Management, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “We’re proud to offer our members this leading tool that will prepare them to ask the right questions and make more informed decisions about their health.”

In six easy steps, members will learn how to:

1.      Get the right diagnosis- Understand symptoms and be prepared to discuss options with your doctor

2.      Find the right doctor- Know what questions to ask and the answers to look for when considering a specialist or surgeon

3.      Decide on a treatment- Understand treatment options, surgical and  non-surgical, and learn how to discuss benefits and risks of each

4.      Learn about hospitals- Learn about the types or surgical facilities, what role health care professionals play and the questions that should be asked regarding anesthesia

5.      Prepare for surgery- Understand all the activities to prepare for medical procedures, and know what steps can be proactively taken for the best outcome

6.      Recover at home- Know the steps to reduce complications and make the process of getting back on your feet easier

Since BlueCross BlueShield launched the program in November 2017, over 8,000 BlueCross BlueShield members are already using the leading surgery support program.   

“Even if surgery isn’t in your immediate future, we encourage members to take a look, so they will be prepared if they are faced with making a surgery-related decision for them self or a family member in the future,” added Vogel.

BlueCross BlueShield’s Commercial and Medicare members can visit www.welvie.com to get started.  For questions or assistance enrolling in the free program, members can contact Welvie Customer Service by calling toll-free 1-877-386-6556, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., CST or e-mailing customerservice@welvie.com.

Eligible members will receive a $25 amazon.com gift card within 15-30 days of completing Steps 1-3 of the program plus a short survey.  Each eligible member can qualify for the reward once a year; however, members can use the program as often as they like.