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Press Release

IBC Supports Special Olympics of Pennsylvania, 'Adopts' Local Athletes

Athletes from across the state compete in National Special Olympic Games July 18 - 23

Philadelphia, PA - July 16, 2010 - Independence Blue Cross is supporting Special Olympics Pennsylvania athletes who are competing in the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games in Lincoln, Nebraska, July 18 – 23. Independence Blue Cross volunteers will join the sendoff festivities for the athletes and coaches at Widener University on July 16 at 5 p.m. in preparation for the teams' departure for the Games on July 17.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) is an official partner of Special Olympics North America. In collaboration with BCBSA's national partnership, Independence Blue Cross has "adopted" 18 Special Olympics athletes from the five-county Philadelphia region who will be competing in the National Games in several events, including soccer, bocce, track and field, aquatic, and bowling.

"We are pleased to support our Pennsylvania Special Olympics team and applaud these talented, courageous, and dedicated athletes whose competitive spirit and is an inspiration to us all," said Joseph A. Frick, Independence Blue Cross president and chief executive officer. "We wish them the best of luck at the National Games and know they will represent our region and state with pride."

For many years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies such as Independence Blue Cross have joined with local Special Olympics programs across the United States.  This local support helps to fund events, equipment, transportation and other necessities for competition, in addition to initiatives in health, education, athlete leadership development and support for families.

Independence Blue Cross associates have volunteered through the company's Blue Crew corporate volunteer program in many Special Olympics events over the past years. In addition, Independence Blue Cross has contributed to numerous Special Olympic events and activities.

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.

About Special Olympics Pennsylvania

Special Olympics Pennsylvania provides year-round training and competition in 22 Olympic-type sports to more than 20,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities or closely related developmental disabilities.

With sports at the core, Special Olympics is the world's largest movement dedicated to promoting respect, acceptance, inclusion and human dignity for people with intellectual disabilities. With programming in the areas of health, youth and education, family support, research and policy change, Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continued opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and their communities.

For more information about how you can "Be a fan" of Special Olympics Pennsylvania, visit www.specialolympicspa.org.

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