Castlight Health and WellPoint’s Affiliated Health Plans Introduce Reference Based Benefits

Jun 26, 2013

Innovative Benefit Design Enables Employers to Control Heath Care Costs While Empowering Employees to Better Manage Their Care

SAN FRANCISCO – June 26, 2013 – WellPoint, one of the nation’s largest health benefits companies, and Castlight Health, a leader in health care transparency, today announced a joint offering for employers called Reference Based Benefits. Innovative health care benefit designs are an important component of controlling costs while increasing access to quality care. The new offering combines Castlight’s consumer-focused health care transparency solution with WellPoint’s affiliated health plans’ focus on customer service, broad provider networks and efficient administrative processes.

Wide price variations often exist for the same health care services, even within the same geography and same network. However, higher prices do not necessarily correspond to better quality care. This creates an opportunity to reduce costs without sacrificing quality. With Reference Based Benefits, employers can set a benefit limit, or “reference price” for specific types of services covered under their group health plans administered by WellPoint’s affiliated health plans. Using the new consumer-friendly tools provided through the Castlight and WellPoint collaboration, covered employees can easily find high-quality providers that provide the services for a fee that is at or below the reference price.

“The high cost of medical care is one of the biggest challenges facing U.S. businesses today. While some companies are evaluating whether to continue to offer health benefits, the most innovative of them are looking for new solutions to control health care costs, while still preserving employee choice and flexibility,” said Giovanni Colella, M.D., CEO and co-founder of Castlight Health. “Reference Based Benefits builds on our collaboration with WellPoint and its affiliated health plans by offering a new way for individuals to become smarter health care consumers and help control health care costs.”

Reference Based Benefits are highly configurable based upon an employer’s needs. They can be dynamically tailored to each specific company in each of its geographies, including variations in which services are included in the program and the reference price for each. With WellPoint’s affiliated health plans’ broad provider networks and administrative capabilities and Castlight’s comprehensive health care transparency solution, Reference Based Benefits are easy for employers to create and maintain.

“Our pilot programs for reference based benefits have driven strong results. We have found that customers want transparency; however, Reference Based Benefits bring it to the next stage to help drive a ‘call to action.’ Coupling transparency with benefit design heightens the shopping experience and encourages greater consumer interaction,” said Ken Goulet, WellPoint’s executive vice president for Commercial and Specialty Business. “Our newest collaboration with Castlight is taking innovative benefit design to the next level. We are able to provide our customers – some of the largest employers in the country – with benefits that can move the needle on cost and quality.”

Reference Based Benefits options are available immediately with implementation to begin for launches in the first quarter of 2014.

About Castlight Health

Castlight Health enables employers, their employees, and health plans to take control of health care costs and improve care. Named #1 on The Wall Street Journal’s list of “The Top 50 Venture-Backed Companies” for 2011 and one of Dow Jones’ 50 Most Investment-Worthy Technology Start-Ups, Castlight Health helps the country’s self-insured employers and health plans empower consumers to shop for health care. Castlight Health is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by prominent investors including Allen & Company, Cleveland Clinic, Maverick Capital, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Oak Investment Partners, Redmile Group, T. Rowe Price, U.S. Venture Partners, Venrock, Wellcome Trust and two unnamed mutual funds. For more information, please visit our web site at or call (415) 829-1400.

Press Contacts:

Joan Levy

Blanc & Otus for Castlight Health

[email protected]


Cindy Wakefield

WellPoint, Inc.

[email protected]


Press Information

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