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Press Release

Independence Blue Cross Challenges Business Leaders to Step Out and Fight Diabetes

Philadelphia, PA - April 21, 2010 - This morning Independence Blue Cross (IBC) President and CEO Joseph A. Frick joins the American Diabetes Association (ADA) for a Corporate Kickoff Breakfast and challenges area business leaders to join in the fight against diabetes. As presenting sponsor of Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes for the third consecutive year, IBC and Frick — this year’s Walk Chair — are urging business leaders from area employers to form corporate teams and get involved in fundraising efforts for the upcoming annual fall walk on October 2, 2010.

The number of diabetes cases nationwide increased by 90 percent over the past decade, to 23.6 million people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Pennsylvania, approximately 872,000 adults — or about nine percent — have been diagnosed with diabetes, and in Philadelphia alone, 11 percent have the disease. As the diabetes population continues to grow the Step Out walk continues to stress the ADA’s overall mission that helps people to:

  • understand the risks for diabetes and the potential complications of the disease;
  • develop skills to manage and improve their health if they have been diagnosed as diabetic;
  • prevent the disease and value healthier living;
  • learn ways they can donate or fundraise for Step Out to help fund research to find a cure.

“At IBC, we’re committed to helping our members with diabetes live healthier lives and preventing the onset of this devastating disease among those who are at risk,” said Frick. “This is one of the many reasons we continue to make meaningful investments in prevention, wellness and health management programs for diabetes and other chronic conditions. Participating in Step Out is a great way to remind each other that our health should be a top priority. Equally important is our partnership with organizations like the ADA that are focused on diabetes prevention through education programs that reach our members and the community and help them understand the devastating effects of diabetes.”

Last year while Step Out walks took place in 166 other cities across the country, the Philadelphia walk broke national records as the largest in participation and fundraising. More than 3,500 people were in attendance and with the help of IBC and a number of local corporate and family-and-friend teams the ADA was able to raise more than $550,000. IBC encourages its associates, members, and the community to join the fall walk in the hopes of generating an even bigger success for the ADA in year three. Visit www.diabetes.org/stepout, and learn more about this year’s event.

“IBC’s presenting sponsorship of Step Out continues to demonstrate their care and concern for those in our community who suffer from diabetes and other chronic diseases,” said Russell L. Moore, ADA executive director of the southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey region. “Together we hope to communicate the importance of events like Step Out that bring people together in support of a good cause. Every year, each walker and every dollar raised brings us one step closer to a cure.”

IBC 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. These experienced nurses, or specially trained health care professionals, provide patients with information and support to help them understand their diagnoses, become motivated to actively manage their health, implement new lifestyle choices to reduce health risks, and learn self-care skills to follow their treatment plan. 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 involvement with the ADA also supports the national Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s (BCBSA) Blue Vision 2015 goal to reduce diabetes by half over the next five years. This is just one of several objectives under Blue Vision 2015 strategic goals for all 39 affiliated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies nationwide to create healthier customers, a safer delivery system, and improve access for more affordable health care.

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 is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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