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Anthem Embraces Social Networking

In Wisconsin, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is leveraging a variety of social networking tools to interact with its members.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin has announced that is leveraging social networks to better engage and respond to members, under a series of initiatives that make use of Web communities such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, according to a press release. Anthem is the trade name used by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin and Compcare Health Services Insurance Corporation.

"At Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, we understand that more teens, adults and even seniors are logging online to tweet, network, or blog about their daily activities, likes, dislikes, among other things," Larry Schreiber, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin, said in a press release. "Tools such as Twitter and Facebook provide an additional means of communicating with our members and all consumers in the communities we serve in a way that's convenient and of interest for them."

The carrier is in the midst of a pilot program in which it uses Twitter to identify members who may have questions or concerns about their health benefits. It is also using Twitter as a component of its collaboration with Bob Harper, known to some members by his appearance on "The Biggest Loser," a reality TV show. Harper "tweets" frequently with wellness tips and is followed by 12,000 Twitter users, Anthem says.

The carrier has also set up a presence on Facebook, on which it hopes to promote wellness and create a community where users can interact with Anthem and one another. Anthem has also launched a brand channel on YouTube in hopes of creating a viral community around health and wellness, according to a press release.

"Building relationships with our members and showing the human face of our company is critical, especially today when so many rely on online tools and communications for all aspects of their life, but even more so with something as personal as health care," Kate Quinn, vice president of corporate marketing for Anthem's parent company, said in a press release. "Social media provide a great opportunity for us to engage our members, listen to them and be more responsive."

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