Chattanooga, TN. -- BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee announced today that it has been awarded the Consumer Education and Support (CES) accreditation from URAC, a Washington, DC-based health care accrediting organization that establishes quality standards for the health care industry.

BlueCross BlueShield is the first health plan to receive the CES accreditation, which is designed to ensure that health plans provide consumers with relevant and accessible information to make decisions in the growing consumer directed health plan environment. The accreditation was effective Nov. 1, 2006.

“This is a great accomplishment for BlueCross and it truly benefits our health care consumers,” said Paul Kulpa, senior program manager for consumer directed care at BlueCross. “We are very proud of the URAC CES accreditation, because it demonstrates our dedication to consumerism and the education, communication and tools that surround it.”

Since launching their CDH products in 2004, BlueCross BlueShield has incorporated several tools to help consumers meet their decision-making needs including: hospital cost and quality tools, live consumer coaches and treatment cost estimators.

Applicants for CES accreditation had over sixty URAC standards to meet to receive accreditation. Among the CES standards established by URAC are product and wellness education, financial and clinical decision-making tools as well as health assessment and one-on-one consumer support.

“BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee should be commended for meeting strict quality standards,” said Charles Stellar, URAC Board Chair. “It is critically important for health care organizations to make a commitment to quality and accountability. URAC accreditation is a demonstration of that commitment.”

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.