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Press Release

Independence Blue Cross Announces its Second Year Sponsorship of Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes

IBC continues partnership with American Diabetes Association to fight this devastating disease

Philadelphia, PA - September 9, 2009 - Independence Blue Cross (IBC) today announces its second year sponsorship of the American Diabetes Association's (ADA) Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes. The family-friendly, 5K walk is the ADA's signature fundraising event.

The number of diabetes cases nationwide increased by 90 percent over the past decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This has had a significant impact on the U.S. health system and its costs. In 2008 alone, the estimated direct and indirect cost of diagnosed diabetes was $174 billion. About a third of the people with this disease, or 5.7 million Americans, are not aware they have it, and another 57 million have pre-diabetes - blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not yet in diabetic range. Eleven percent of people in Philadelphia have diabetes, and that's 3% higher than the national average.

"We are proud to serve as the presenting sponsor of Philadelphia's Step Out walk for its second year because so many people in the Philadelphia area have diabetes, including 130,000 of our members," said Joseph A. Frick, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross. "We partner with the American Diabetes Association for Step Out to help our members, associates, and community get active, become healthier, and learn more about how common diabetes is and what each of us can do to reduce the risk we will become diabetic. That includes exercising, and walking in Step Out is a great start."

As an advocate for preventive care, IBC is the presenting sponsor of Step Out for the second year to convey a clear message: like many chronic conditions, diabetes is possible to better manage, control, and even prevent so that people live healthier lives and reduce the cost of health care. Respected national studies show that commitment to exercise and nutrition is vital for those suffering from diabetes, as well as those who are at risk of developing it. With nearly 200 Step Out walks throughout the nation, IBC hopes the Philadelphia event is an eye-opener for the region about the risks of diabetes.

Last year when more than 2,000 walkers participated in Step Out, the ADA raised nearly $400,000. This year the association hopes to recruit 2,500 walkers and to raise $415,000. The donations are critical to the ADA funding for research, education, and advocacy.

Championing people, programs, and services to help fight diabetes

IBC encourages associates, members, and the community to join the fall walk, and also continues to support its diabetic members through a variety of programs. The ConnectionsSM Health Management Program targets members with diabetes and other chronic conditions through one-on-one support with health coaches. In addition, IBC offers six free nutritional counseling visits and fitness reimbursements for logging time at the gym to help members form or maintain healthy eating habits and exercise routines-both of which can help members better manage, control, and prevent chronic diseases like diabetes.

"IBC's presenting sponsorship of Step Out truly demonstrates their dedication not only to their members who suffer from diabetes and other chronic diseases, but to the family and friends who care for them, and to the entire community," said Russell Moore, ADA executive director of the southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey region. "Step Out is a wonderful event for people across the area to come together and help raise money for a good cause. Each walker and every dollar raised will bring us one step closer to a cure."

Join Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes

Date: Saturday, October 3, 2009.
Route: The 5k walk begins and ends at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Participants walk through Center City and down the Schuylkill River Trail.
Registration: Online at www.stepout.diabetes.org, by phone at 1-888-DIABETES, or in person on the day of event.
Time: Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 9:30 a.m.
Activities: A health festival will be at Eakins Oval in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and will include free health screenings, health information, fitness demonstrations, entertainment, and refreshments.
Fundraising: Anyone can join! Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes at the event. Those who raise $100 and above before the walk may pick up their ADA Step Out T-shirts at the event registration table.

On October 3 at Step Out and in the year-round fight against diabetes, IBC is here for you every step of the way.

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 3.3 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 supports comprehensive health care reform that would extend coverage to all Americans, reduce costs, and improve quality. We also advocate reform that builds on the current employer-based system that currently serves 170 million Americans. Learn more about our views on health care legislation now working its way through Congress.

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