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Press Release

Independence Blue Cross Marks Diabetes Alert Day - Take One Minute, Find Out if You Are at Risk

Leading Insurer Also Announces Fourth Year as Presenting Sponsor of Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes

Philadelphia, PA - March 22, 2011 - Independence Blue Cross (IBC) joins the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to spread the word that today is Diabetes Alert Day and challenge area residents to take steps to fight America's fastest growing disease.  Also, in recognition of this day, IBC announces its fourth year presenting sponsorship of the ADA's Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes in Philadelphia, scheduled for Saturday, October 1, 2011.

Diabetes takes a devastating toll on the Philadelphia area. The disease affects 11 percent of people in our region, higher than the national average of 8.3 percent of the population. A quarter of those affected in our region are not aware that they have the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010 approximately 1.9 million people aged 20 years or older across the U.S. were newly diagnosed with diabetes, while another 215,000 children under the age of 20 were living with the disease. Diabetes has a significant impact on medical costs, too. In 2008, the estimated direct and indirect costs of diagnosed diabetes cases was $174 billion, and rising.

Concerned about these startling facts, IBC is urging area residents to help stop the serious consequences of diabetes by taking two simple steps:

1. Take a one-minute Diabetes Risk Test to see if you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. In recognition of Diabetes Alert Day, March 22, the test prompts people to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for diabetes. The Diabetes Risk Test shows users whether they are at low, moderate or high risk for type 2 diabetes.
2. Join IBC, the ADA and others for this year's fourth annual Step Out Walk on Saturday, October 1, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Last year's walk attracted over 3,600 participants and raised $545,000, ranking it second in fundraising among all cities and states nationwide that hold ADA Step Out walks.

"Knowing your risk for this disease is absolutely key to preventing it," said Daniel J. Hilferty, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross. "People face many chronic diseases that can't be prevented; but type 2 diabetes and its devastating consequences can be prevented through education and action. As a company that is dedicated to helping our members and the community stay healthy and fit, we are pleased to stand with the ADA to mark Diabetes Alert Day and proud to announce that we will once again sponsor the Step Out 5K event this fall. Spend a minute today and take the Diabetes Risk Test. It's a simple first step that could preserve your good health."

ADA's annual Alert Day is a one-day "wake-up" call that urges the American public to take the Diabetes Risk Test and to speak with their health care provider if they learn they are at risk. In 2011 ADA asks the public to "Join the Million Challenge" by rallying one million people across the nation to take the Diabetes Risk Test between March 22, 2011 and April 22, 2011. Anyone can be part of the movement to stop diabetes. Find the free Diabetes Risk Test (available in English or Spanish) by visiting stopdiabetes.com, by calling 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or by texting JOIN to 69866 (Standard data and message rates apply).

The IBC-sponsored Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes, formerly known as Step Out Walk to Fight Diabetes, is a family and team friendly one-day event focused on engaging the community to fundraise for a diabetes cure. This year the ADA set a goal to recruit 4,000 participants and to raise $600,000 for diabetes research, education and advocacy. Visit www.diabetes.org/stepout to learn more about the fall 2011 event.

"IBC continues to demonstrate its commitment to people affected by diabetes and the family and friends who care for them by joining ADA as presenting sponsor of Step Out for a fourth consecutive year," said Russell Moore, ADA Executive Director Southeastern PA and Southern NJ Region. "By working together on community outreach efforts, such as Diabetes Alert Day and Step Out, ADA and IBC can help people gain a firm understanding of their own risk factors and inspire them to incorporate regular physical activity into their daily routines."

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. More information about Independence Blue Cross is available at www.ibx.com.

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