Tuesday, April 14, 2009

X PRIZE Foundation, WellPoint Inc. Unveil Initial Design for Revolutionary $10+ Million Healthcare X PRIZE

Initial Prize Design Released for Public Comment at World Health Care Congress in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON (April 14, 2009) -- The X PRIZE Foundation, a nonprofit organization that drives innovation through large incentive competitions, in collaboration with the WellPoint Foundation, one of the nation’s largest private foundations, and WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP), the nation’s largest health benefits company in terms of medical membership, announced today the initial competition design for a $10M+ Healthcare X PRIZE.

The Grand Challenge for this Healthcare X PRIZE will be to create an optimal health paradigm that empowers and engages individuals and communities in a way that dramatically improves health value. Following today’s announcement, the public is invited to comment on the approach and provide feedback to ensure that the competition results in affordable, high-quality health care for all communities. An overview of the initial prize design and guidelines are available for public comment at www.xprize.org/wellpoint.

The initial X PRIZE design was announced jointly by Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, chairman and CEO, The X PRIZE Foundation and Angela Braly, president and CEO, WellPoint, Inc. They were joined by the Hon. Bill Bradley, former U.S. Senator, and managing director, Allen & Company LLC, and the Hon. Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and Founder, Center for Health Transformation, for a health care discussion moderated by Susan Dentzer, editor in chief, Health Affairs.

“President Obama has called for bold new ideas to revitalize our health care system. We are answering that call by developing an innovative incentive prize that optimizes the health of all Americans and significantly increases the value from every health dollar,” said Dr. Diamandis. “This is not the situation today and we need to change it. Ultimately, you get what you incentivize. If we can refocus our health care system on helping individuals optimize health, and reward providers who improve outcomes, the implications over the next decade will be profound.”

“I’m very pleased to be part of this developing X PRIZE competition,” said Sen. Bradley, “This prize will bring together people from different elements of the health care system and get them collaborating to devise a new system that will produce the highest quality health care for the greatest number of people at the lowest possible cost. The greatest key is tapping into the American people; if you’ve got a great idea, put it forward.”

The collaboration between The X PRIZE Foundation, WellPoint, Inc. and the WellPoint Foundation to design a $10M+ Healthcare X PRIZE was announced in October 2008. Since then, hundreds of comments from the public and leaders across the health care industry have been collected from The X PRIZE Foundation Web site to create the initial design announced today.

“From across the health spectrum physicians, consumers, entrepreneurs, technology experts, government officials and others have already contributed their time and expertise to developing a meaningful prize design,” said Angela Braly. “Now we ask the public and interested stakeholders to take a look at our initial design and share ideas on how we can use a Healthcare X PRIZE to create a dramatic improvement in the health of our families and communities while simultaneously improving affordability.”

The X PRIZE Foundation’s health care prize development team and WellPoint collaborated with prominent health care providers, thought-leaders, academic and political advisors from across the nation to identify key components for a health care focused incentivized competition. Key advisors include: Dr. Glenn Steele, CEO, Geisinger Health System; Dr. Jim Weinstein, director, Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice; Dr. Carol Diamond, managing director, Markle Foundation; Mark Litow, principal and consulting actuary, Milliman; Dr. Dean Ornish, president, Preventive Medicine Research Institute; Michael E. Porter, professor, Harvard Business School; Hon. Bill Bradley, former U.S. Senator; and Hon. Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and Founder, Center for Health Transformation.

The proposed $10M+ Healthcare X PRIZE is designed to improve health value by more than 50 percent in a community during a three year trial. A competition around value measures and compares health outcomes against the total cost of care for a community. Health outcomes would be measured by a “community health index,” which combines functional health (e.g., reduced sick days, improved ability to climb stairs) and clinical events (e.g., visit to ER, rehospitalization). Total cost would include direct costs incurred across health benefits, payroll (sick and disability pay), coupled with out-of-pocket health care.

“We have a challenge of how we pay for things. In many ways, we over pay for acute care and we underpay for preventative care and wellness,” said Speaker Gingrich. “This approach allows for significant improvements that would lead to better health outcomes, which would lead to longer, more active lives and do so at lower costs.”

Under the proposed competition framework, teams would have 18 months to conceive, model, and submit plans to create a new paradigm that can impact the health status of individual participants as well as the overall health status of communities. A later pilot phase will be used to demonstrate that the models can successfully be applied on a small scale. To select finalists, the competitive field will be narrowed to approximately the top five performers as judged by an objective process currently under development. During the competition stage, the five finalists will be matched to a test community of 10,000 individuals and compared against a control group during a three year real-world trial. WellPoint, together with its affiliated health plans, has committed to collect appropriate data and collaborate with employers and providers to set up the test communities, subject to validation by an independent third party. The competing team’s ability to change incentives is expected to drive improved behaviors across consumers and providers.

“We appreciate the tremendous support and advice we've received from the health community as we've shaped this effort,” said Dr. Vijay Goel, director of Prize Development, The X PRIZE Foundation. “By engaging individuals through the creation of a personal vitality score to help them understand their health options, and then measuring the impact of their choices at the community health level, we can create new approaches to achieve optimal health in a convenient, proactive, and effective way. We see the Healthcare X PRIZE effort as a public-private collaboration that makes affordable health care for working families a sustainable reality.”

The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured the world’s attention when the Burt Rutan-led team, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world’s first private spaceship to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for suborbital spaceflight. The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation, with the support of its partner BT Global Services, is creating prizes in Space and Ocean Exploration, Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, Education and Global Development. The Foundation is widely recognized as the leader in fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit www.xprize.org.

WellPoint is committed to improving the lives of the people we serve and the health of our communities by simplifying the connection between health, care and value. Our goal is to help shape the impact each health care decision has on individuals, the health care system at-large, and our communities. WellPoint’s more than 42,000 associates work every day to help create the best health care value for our customers. Through collaborations with providers and with innovative programs, WellPoint’s affiliated health plans reward healthy lifestyles and quality, safe and effective care. As the nation’s largest health benefits company, with approximately 35 million members in its affiliated health plans, WellPoint is at the center of the health care system. This position provides us with the relationships and insights needed to help create affordable and actionable solutions that improve health care. As an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, WellPoint serves members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), Wisconsin; and through UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at www.wellpoint.com.

The WellPoint Foundation, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization wholly funded by WellPoint, Inc. Through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes WellPoint’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that WellPoint’s affiliate health plans serve. With combined assets of $95 million, the Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that, among other health related programs, address and provide innovative solutions to promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s annual associate giving campaign and provides a 50 percent match of associates’ campaign pledges. To learn more about the WellPoint Foundation please visit www.wellpointfoundation.org.
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