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Press Release

Employee Health and Reducing Health Care Costs Focus of Working Wellness Expo June 17

Independence Blue Cross and Philadelphia Business Journal to sponsor and present health expo

Philadelphia, PA - June 16, 2009 - Americans spend more than half of their waking hours at work. With health care costs continuing to climb, many employers are looking for ways to help stem the increases while improving the health of their employees. In conjunction with Philadelphia Business Journal, Independence Blue Cross (IBC) is urging area business leaders who want to lower medical costs and build employees' health, and anyone interested in health and fitness, to attend the Working Wellness Expo tomorrow.

The Wellness Expo will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., in Room 108 of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Registration can be completed at events.bizjournals.com/6150 and walk-ins will be accepted if space permits.

"According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, at least 50 percent of an organization's health care costs are linked to employees' smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise," said Dr. Richard Snyder, senior medical director at IBC. "Since we all spend a significant amount of our lives at work, employees should feel valued and know that their health is considered a priority on the job. Not only will healthier behaviors lead to lower costs, but a health improvement program can also positively affect productivity and morale." Dr. Snyder will deliver opening remarks at the expo.

To help employers drive down the cost of health care, IBC continues to offer customers its Wellness Partners® program - a worksite-based, targeted outreach program that helps employers to encourage healthier behaviors in the workplace, and integrate individualized support and site-specific tools and programs for improving health.

To help the community, IBC, the presenting sponsor of the June 17 expo, will offer free health screenings throughout the day, and Marian Hay, manager of Health Promotion and Wellness at the company will present and discuss the importance of worksite wellness. Participants can also take advantage of interactive health booths, pick up educational information on nutrition counseling and exercises they can do at their desk, enjoy music and entertainment, and hear from former NFL head coach, Dick Vermeil.  Be sure to bring a business card and enter to win a weekend spa getaway.

"Worksite wellness programs are good for employees and good for business," said Hay. "Making disease prevention and health promotion part of the corporate culture is essential. Sure, it takes effort to shape the work environment to support healthy behaviors but we have the resources to help and the payoff is invaluable - the good health of our employees. "

IBC's Worksite Wellness program offers a full range of innovative health programs with education, engagement, and reminders. Comprehensive employer toolkits are available at www.ibx.com/worksite_wellness and include stress awareness, smoking cessation, weight management, and company walking programs.

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.4 million people. For more than 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.

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