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Press Release

Independence Blue Cross Recognizes Every Step Counts in the Movement to Stop Diabetes

Leads fight against diabetes for the 11% of Philadelphians and 130,000 members living with diabetes

Philadelphia, PA - November 24, 2010 - November is National Diabetes Awareness month, a time to increase awareness of diabetes prevention and control. Leading the way to help spread the word to the one in nine people (11 percent) in Philadelphia and its 130,000 members living with diabetes was Independence Blue Cross, which joined in the movement to Stop Diabetes® through its third consecutive sponsorship of the American Diabetes Association's annual Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes.

This fall, more than 3,700 people gathered to participate in Step Out, the American Diabetes Association's (ADA's) signature fundraising walk that takes place in 150 cities across the country. Independence Blue Cross (IBC) mobilized a team of nearly 400 walkers and raised $40,000 to help the ADA increase funding for diabetes research and education. Other businesses throughout the greater Philadelphia region joined the walk and helped raise $525,000 toward ADA's goal this year. The Philadelphia walk is the country's largest Step Out walk by number of participants and the second leading walk in fundraising. This brings the ADA one step closer to finding a cure for the nearly 24 million Americans living with diabetes — the nation's fastest growing disease with a new diagnosis every 20 seconds.

"We are proud to lead the fight against diabetes, not only during National Diabetes Awareness Month, but year-round as we help our members and our community prevent and control this devastating disease," said Joseph A. Frick, IBC president and CEO and the walk chair of this year's Step Out. "In Pennsylvania alone, diabetes costs more than $6 billion to treat and care for those living with the disease and that's why area companies and organizations must continue to work together to help stop diabetes and improve the lives of the thousands who are affected."

Make the first step a healthy step. Prevention and control are key.

In addition to sponsoring Step Out, IBC has several programs to help members better manage, control, or prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, including:

  • Healthy LifestylesSM, an incentive program designed to encourage healthy behavior by offering members incentives like six free nutritional counseling visits and reimbursement for participating in fitness, and weight-loss programs.
  • ConnectionsSM Health Management Programs, a suite of disease management programs that provide chronically ill members with information and support through experienced nurses, or Health Coaches, who help patients understand their diagnoses, become motivated to actively manage their health, make new lifestyle choices to reduce health risks, and learn self-care skills to follow their treatment plan.
  • Health eTools for Schools, a unique, web-based program designed to help area schools promote student wellness and combat childhood obesity, a leading contributor to type 2 diabetes in children.
  • Active Schools Grant, a program designed to promote fitness and curb childhood obesity in Pennsylvania. IBC has contributed grants to 19 area schools to fund programs that help promote better nutrition and physical activity planning in schools
  • PDF icon Good Health Club Physician Toolkit, a new program designed to foster better communication on childhood obesity and diabetes prevention between pediatricians and their patients and parents. IBC distributed the innovative toolkits to more than 250 pediatric offices throughout southeastern Pennsylvania in time for back-to-school doctor visits before the 2010-2011 school year.

IBC's involvement with the ADA and sponsorship of StepOut also supports the national Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association's goal to cut the incidence of type 2 diabetes by half over the next five years. This goal is just one of several objectives under Blue Vision 2015, a strategic plan 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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