Bristol-Myers Squibb Supports Retirees with CareCounsel's Healthcare Assistance Program

San Rafael, CA, April 27, 1999 — CareCounsel, LLC today announces that it will provide its innovative Healthcare Assistance Program to Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Starting April 1999, retirees age 65 and older and their spouses participating in the Managed Care Options offered by Bristol-Myers Squibb as part of its comprehensive retiree health program will have access to CareCounsel services. After June 1, retirees and their spouses who select a Medicare HMO will be able to use the CareCounsel program on an ongoing basis for consumer education, advocacy and access to expert healthcare resources and information.

Anthony Mazzeo, Bristol-Myers Squibb's Vice President of Global Benefits notes that "we are pleased to provide the CareCounsel program as a resource to help Medicare eligible retirees make informed benefit choices. This population is being provided with communication materials about new service options from a variety of sources including the federal government and the HMOs themselves. We believe that by making the independent resources of CareCounsel available to them, we can help to avoid much of the confusion. We also believe that CareCounsel's resources can provide our retirees with additional assurance that the choices they make are appropriate ones for themselves and for their family members. CareCounsel resources will also be available beyond the enrollment period to assist retirees with any continuing questions or concerns they may have about the healthcare services they are receiving."

"According to research published in Health Affairs, only 11% of seniors have adequate knowledge to make an informed choice between HMOs and traditional plans," says CareCounsel's Director of Operations, Laura Valentine-Ray, MS, who will participate in open enrollment meetings with the retirees. "As an enlightened employer, Bristol-Myers Squibb wants to ensure that its retirees have the information and support to make informed decisions when selecting Medicare options."

CareCounsel helps employees navigate the new healthcare environment through a telephone-based benefit that provides consumer education, advocacy and access to expert healthcare resources and information. They provide assistance with selecting health plans, choosing primary care physicians and specialists, locating disease-specific resources and resolving access, claims and quality concerns with medical providers and health plans.

Employees receive consultation and educational material about proactive healthcare strategies like: Understanding Medicare Options; Going to the Hospital; Choosing a Primary Care Provider; Assertive Health Strategies; Questions to Ask before Surgery; Usual and Customary Charges; How to Select a Specialist; Keeping a Personal Health Record; Diabetes for the Informed Patient; Preventive Health Guidelines; and Talking with Your Doctor. Employers receive comprehensive utilization and satisfaction reports specific to their population.

CareCounsel, based in San Rafael, California, is the country's leading vendor of healthcare assistance programs, covering over 25,000 people around the country. The program is available to employers, labor health and welfare trusts, managed care organizations and healthcare purchasing coalitions.

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