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07 - 27 - 2006

bWell International Offers Tools Supporting the Revolution in Retailization of Health and Wellness Care Management

NEW YORK, N.Y. – July 27, 2006 – With sweeping changes in the healthcare marketplace placing more power in the hands of consumers, successful retailization of options for care and coverage depend upon consumer access to information that empowers them to compare, contrast and shop for value, as well as price.

"As more money flows into the system through the hands of consumers, as opposed to health insurance reimbursements, there is an increased demand for retail delivery of services," says Phil Micali, founder and CEO of bWell. "We are witnessing a break in tradition; whereby, healthcare services – often characterized as sick care – will be marketed along the historic model for wellness care such as massage, cosmetic surgery, vision correction and other 'discretionary' procedures. Decisions and payment for care will come directly from the consumer."

Micali says that there are many factors impacting this changing marketplace. "We are seeing shifts in the workforce, with an increase in sole proprietorships and contract relationships. Today, smaller, leaner, nimbler companies are emerging that can more readily respond to global market demands, and their healthcare needs and desires are different."

He also points to the cost-savings associated with consumer directed healthcare (CDH) and the market value of having individuals take greater responsibility for their healthcare decisions and costs.

"The retailization of healthcare is upon us," says Micali, pointing to the new role of nurse practitioners at clinics located in pharmacies and shopping malls. "This retail model applies not only to the care component, but also the retailization of coverage options. An increasing number of individuals, sole proprietors and small businesses are now seeking individual coverage options that fall outside of the employer-employee relationship."

Retailization is also getting a boost from the 45M uninsured individuals who are seeking services, as well as banks and other providers which are recognizing the value of the business-to-consumer model, which requires a retail approach.

Micali designed bWell's decision support tools to allow consumers to make informed, conscious decisions. bWell lifestyle assessment and plan comparison tools provide guidance rather than advice. bWell tools also consolidate large quantities of information and enable people to make comparisons based upon plan suitability.

"Our tools drive people to make lifestyle decisions that are prudent in the retail world," concludes Micali. "Lifestyle choices are not emphasized in the old paradigm, but they become critical in the new context of retail marketing. In this new scenario, bWell tools show users the results of their health choices – both good and bad. The important point is that they provide concrete information and a basis for making ongoing decisions about personal healthcare."

About bWell International, Inc.

bWell International brings cutting-edge education products (tools and calculators) and services (consulting and coaching) for promoting consumerism to individuals for employers, governments, banks and health plans marketplaces. bWell is proud to support the initiatives of the New York Business Group on Health (NYBGH) and several other organizations that encourage thoughtful consideration of the role of the individual in the delivery of healthcare services. For more information, visit www.bwell-inc.com, e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , or call 917-254-4151.

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