A statement by Larry C Glasscock, Chairman of Wellpoint is given below. The statement has been taken from the company’s 2006 annual report.
One in every 10 Americans is a member of a WellPoint health plan. For us, that’s a tremendous privilege and responsibility.
We realize that each of those 34 million members — and every consumer we provide with vision and dental benefits, pharmacy benefit management, or other services — is an individual with unique health care needs. And we know that, as the nation’s leading health benefits company, we can take a lead role in making health care better.
In my letter last year, I introduced our comprehensive strategy to transform health care. As part of that strategy, we identified six aspirations for the future health care system, and those aspirations provide the framework for this report.What you can see in this report is that we have moved beyond aspiration to action, with initiatives well under way to achieve each of these goals. What you should also know is that we are tracking our progress with specific measures and annual targets — we are that committed to achieving our vision for a vastly improved health care system.
2006 performance highlights Our dedication to making WellPoint the most trusted choice for consumers and the leader in affordable quality care produced very good results in 2006 for customers and shareholders.
We achieved continued strong growth in our Anthem National Accounts business, which serves large, multi-state employers. We successfully introduced Medicare Part D products, reaching 1.6 million members by year-end. We also added to our leadership position in Medicaid managed care services, winning five new state contracts covering 500,000 people.
Earnings per share were $4.82 in 2006, a 22 percent increase over 2005. We also continued to make significant progress in reducing administrative costs as a percentage of revenue while improving service to our customers.
Innovative choices for health care consumers As you will read in the pages that follow, in 2006 we also launched innovative products and services that will help shape the future of health care. We are the first health benefits company to roll out an integrated portfolio of consumer-driven health plans (or CDHPs) across the country in all segments of the market, from individuals to large employers.
Consumers want to take a more active role in their health care, and we’re working to empower consumers in all of our products — not just our CDHP offerings.That includes providing information that’s understandable and useful to consumers about the cost and quality of their health care options. For example, we launched a comprehensive hospital cost comparison program in Dayton, Ohio.
Our members can compare total costs, including physicians’ fees, and quality measures for nearly 40 different procedures at 10 area hospitals.
Empowering consumers also means offering a trusted source of information and support to help them take better care of themselves. In 2006, we launched 360� Health, the industry’s most comprehensive approach to addressing health education, preventive care, well-being, health improvement and care coordination.
We reorganized our company in late 2006 around a nationwide, customer-focused strategy. We created a structure that capitalizes on WellPoint’s unique competitive advantage — the scale and scope to develop innovative products and programs for consumers, and the local leadership and knowledge to adapt those innovations to local markets across the country.
This approach will allow us to offer consumers from coast to coast an unparalleled choice of health care plans, and a full range of benefits and services — including specialty products such as life insurance and dental, vision and behavioral health benefits. It will also allow us to engage health care professionals in communities across the country in innovative programs to improve quality and reduce costs.
Transforming Health Care
Today, we’re well-positioned for future growth. But we’re focused on an even larger goal: to play a leading role in transforming health care in this country.
We believe that Americans want a health care system that offers them choices. And we believe that dramatically improving the public-private framework provides the best structure for meeting American consumers’ expectations for a vastly improved health care system and providing access for all Americans to quality health care.
My WellPoint colleagues and I have been working closely with partners in both the public and private sectors to find solutions to our nation’s health care challenges. We have met with the President, members of Congress, governors, and state and federal regulatory officials on such key issues as transparency, health information technology, health care quality, and the uninsured.
In the past two years, more than 750,000 previously uninsured Americans found health care security through one of our company’s individual products, but we recognize that a majority of the uninsured are currently unable to get coverage through the private market. In January 2007 we proposed a comprehensive, public-private partnership to help address this issue. The WellPoint Action Plan for the Uninsured aims to ensure universal coverage for children and provide new and more attractive options for the working uninsured. This plan reflects WellPoint’s mission to improve the lives of the people we serve and the health of our communities.
In February, I announced my decision to retire from the day-to-day operations of WellPoint, so that I can attend to the needs of my family. I will continue to serve as the Chairman of WellPoint’s Board of Directors.
I am very pleased that Angela Braly will become our new President and CEO, effective June 1. We are fortunate to have a leader of Angela’s caliber ready to assume the President and CEO position. Angela has been a trusted and valued colleague, partnering with me on many strategic initiatives undertaken by the company over the past two years. She brings the right combination of intellect, health policy knowledge, business experience and strategic vision.
In selecting Angela, the Board has demonstrated its faith in WellPoint’s strategy, performance, culture and leadership team. I want to thank the Board of Directors for their strategic vision and guidance.
I also want to thank our entire management team for their outstanding performance in serving our customers and building our company, and for their strong expression of support for Angela.
I’m thankful to our dedicated associates for their loyalty, spirit and commitment to excellence. And I’m grateful to our customers, shareholders, and business and community partners for their support over the years.
I have had the privilege of working as a WellPoint associate since 1998, and as the CEO since 1999. Our company has a very bright future with an excellent strategic road map to help us achieve our vision of transforming health care and becoming the most valued company in our industry. We are well on our way to achieving this vision.
Our goals for WellPoint are to be recognized as the most trusted choice for consumers and the leader in affordable quality care.
We know that achieving these goals will not be easy, and that there is still a great deal of work to do. But we believe that realizing our vision is possible. And we believe that a responsible industry leader should strive for nothing less.