CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- The perks of being a BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee member have just increased with the addition of cosmetic services and vision care products to the BluePerks discount program.

Effective Sept. 1, 2004, BlueCross members can realize savings up to 30 percent off retail price on non-covered cosmetic procedures, vision exams and eye care items. The discount program is available at no additional cost to more than 1 million BlueCross individual and group commercial health plan members.

“We’re always looking for ways to help our members extend their health care dollars,” said Linda Andreae, vice president of product development for BlueCross. “We recognize that health insurance plans don’t cover all the health care services desired by today’s consumers, so we’ve expanded BluePerks to help our members save on services such as cosmetic care.”

In recent years the popularity of costly cosmetic services has grown. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 8.7 million cosmetic procedures were performed during 2003 in the United States.

With BluePerks, members can save money on numerous cosmetic procedures that are not considered medically necessary or typically covered under a traditional health plan. Examples of discounted services include liposuction, breast augmentation, tattoo removal, and botox and collagen injections.

The cosmetic service discounts are administered through American WholeHealth, the nation’s largest complementary health and wellness network company.

Only BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee credentialed providers located in Tennessee and surrounding counties have been invited to participate in the new cosmetic discount program. Currently, 43 practitioners in 95 locations across the state are participating in the BluePerks cosmetic care discount. The number of practitioners is expected to grow weekly.

“With any therapy or surgery, like a cosmetic procedure, we emphasize safety and encourage our members to consult their health care provider, particularly if they are taking medication or being treated for a specific health condition,” Andreae said.

In addition to the discounts on cosmetic procedures, the BluePerks enhancements include nationwide savings on eye exams, lenses, frames and contact lenses through Davis Vision.

Members without vision benefits as part of their health insurance plan can take advantage of the discounted vision services.

Cosmetic and vision discounts are the newest savings offered through BluePerks. Discounts are also available on complementary alternative medicine and wellness products, as well as LASIK eye surgery administered through TruVision.

“Thousands of members visit BluePerks online each day, seeking ways to improve their health and save money,” Andreae said. “These latest discounts are part of our ongoing effort to provide our members with new discount opportunities and add value to their health plans.”

To take advantage of the BlueCross discount programs, members simply show their BlueCross membership ID card when purchasing services from any affiliated practitioner. There are no referrals or claims required.

Practitioner listings and additional information can be obtained by calling 1-800-227-5911 or visiting the BluePerks link on www.bcbst.com.

About American WholeHealth, Inc.

American WholeHealth is the nation’s largest complementary health and wellness network company, dedicated to serving more than 35 million lives through relationships with health plans and associations, and to strengthening partnerships with more than 25,000 practitioners across the county. In addition to a nationwide practitioner network of acupuncturists, massage therapists, registered dieticians and nutritionists, American WholeHealth’s network options include alternative body work, mind-body therapies including guided imagery, relaxation training, yoga, personal trainers, tai chi and chi gong, as well as fitness centers and spa services. American WholeHealth supports the education of health care consumers via its award-winning site, WholeHealthMD.com. American WholeHealth also supports its network participants through WholeHealthPro.com, a professional web site that helps practitioners better serve their patients and improve their professional practice.

Davis Vision

Davis Vision has been providing comprehensive vision care programs and services for over 36 years and presently serves more than 16 million people in 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam. They have a national network of more than 16,000 optometrists and ophthalmologists, as well as access to premier retail outlets such as Pearle Vision, Sears and J.C. Penney. An agreement between Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) and Davis Vision, a wholly owned subsidiary of the BCBSA primary licensee Highmark, Inc., enables Plans to offer their senior and commercial members access to discounted vision care services at no additional charge.

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.