WellChoice and American Express Combine Health Plan with Payment Solution

December 2, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - American Express Company and WellChoice, Inc., the parent company of Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, have joined forces to provide a consumer-directed health plan, health savings account (HSA) and payment card.

According to an American Express announcement, the offering includes the Empire Total Blue consumer-directed health plan from WellChoice, a Health Savings Account (HSA) from American Express Bank, FSB, and the new American Express HealthPay Plus Card that provides easy access to the HSA funds.

The new health care payment solution from American Express is integrated with WellChoice’s claims process to give consumers more control over their health care dollars and enable physicians and hospitals to save on billing and collections costs, according to the announcement. The new HealthPay Plus Card will enable employees to pay for qualified medical expenses from the funds in their HSA.

In addition, cardmembers may also apply for a credit line, which may be accessed with the card to pay their qualified medical expenses with funds from the credit line and save their HSA funds for future medical expenses, or use credit line funds to help cover costs that may exceed the balance in their HSA.

The new payment solution will be offered in early 2006.

More information about American Express is at www.americanexpress.com , and WellChoice’s Web site is www.wellchoice.com .