CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The start of a new year brings with it the annual rite of making resolutions. Topping the list of resolutions made by Americans is the desire to lose weight, exercise more and eat healthy. With that in mind, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has teamed up with Jenny Craig to help make those resolutions a reality.

Starting Jan. 1, 2005, more than one million BlueCross members can take advantage of discounted weight-loss services and programs from Jenny Craig, one of the largest weight management service companies in the world. The savings, ranging from 10 to 50 percent, are made available through BluePerks, a value-added discount program for non-covered items.

BlueCross individual and group commercial health plan members can receive a free 30-day Tune Up trial program, 50 percent off the cost of the On Track and Platinum programs, or 20 percent off Jenny Rewards (10 to 35 percent discount on Jenny Craig food purchases plus the personal program).

“Each year, millions of people struggle to shed those extra pounds, especially those gained during the festive food-focused holidays,” said Susan Emmett, product manager for BlueCross. “By providing these discounts on Jenny Craig services, we’re providing an effective and cost-saving tool to help them battle the bulge.”

The battle against obesity is a serious matter. According to 2002 state data, more than 61 percent of Tennesseans are either overweight or obese. Nationally, that figure is estimated at 64 percent based on the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

These overweight and obese individuals are at greater risk for a variety of serious medical ailments, such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory problems, some types of cancer, and psychological disorders like depression.

In addition to the health consequences, the obesity epidemic carries a hefty price tag. A 2002 Rand Corporation study places hospital and outpatient care costs for obese people at 36 percent higher than those in the normal weight range. And medication costs for the obese are 77 percent higher. In Tennessee alone, the Department of Health estimates that $1.8 billion in medical costs were spent on adult obesity during 2003.

“With such negative health and financial impacts, is it any wonder that so many people put weight loss at or near the top of their New Year’s resolution list?” Emmett said. “By offering these savings on the Jenny Craig program and other discounted services through BluePerks, we hope that our members are better equipped to achieve all their health goals.”

According to Victoria Kreutzkamp, national account manager for corporate programs at Jenny Craig, success in weight loss is achievable with a supportive, balanced and sensible approach—a focus of the Jenny Craig program. In fact, the results for program enrollees are up to four times better than self-dieting.

“At Jenny Craig, we focus on the needs of each individual through our YourStyle Profile. That enables us to tailor the program to meet each person’s needs for food, body and mind. All of which are not just important factors in successful weight loss, but in achieving long-term results,” Kreutzkamp said.

There are six Jenny Craig weight management centers located throughout Tennessee. Services can also be accessed through Jenny Direct, Jenny Craig’s phone accessible, easy at-home program.

Jenny Craig weight loss services are the latest in a growing list of discounted offerings in the BluePerks Program. Other discounts include cosmetic services, vision care items, LASIK and complementary alternative therapies.

To receive the BluePerks discounts on any of the BluePerks services, members simply present their BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee membership ID card when purchasing services or products from affiliated practitioners. There are no physician referrals or claims paperwork.

For more information on Jenny Craig call 1-800-Jenny20 (1-800-536-6920) or visit www.jennycraig.com. Information on the Jenny Craig discount and other BluePerks savings is also available at www.bcbst.com under the BluePerks link.

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.