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Press Release

'Maintain, Don't Gain' This Holiday Season with Independence Blue Cross

Nutrition counseling benefit builds healthy eating habits

Philadelphia, PA - December 7, 2011 - Taking control of your diet just got easier for Independence Blue Cross (IBC) members. Starting December 1, all eligible managed care members, including those in referral-based HMO and POS plans, no longer need a referral to schedule nutrition counseling sessions with a registered dietitian in IBC's physician network. This change allows members easy access to IBC's nutrition counseling benefit, which pays for up to six nutrition counseling visits per calendar year at no additional cost to members.

The holiday season is upon us and can be the perfect time for members to begin taking advantage of this year-round benefit by getting nutritional advice today so they can set a goal to "maintain, don't gain" and make thoughtful choices about traditional foods and holiday drinks instead of deferring healthier eating to a New Year's resolution. The holidays don't have to delay plans to make healthy choices about the foods you eat.

"Nutrition counseling is a smart way for people to get the help they need to make healthier choices when shopping for food, preparing meals, ordering food out, or eating in moderation," says Lorrie Reynolds, director of Prevention Health Services and Wellness at IBC. "A well-balanced diet has a significant impact on good health, and we are proud to offer even easier access to nutrition counseling as a core benefit to our already comprehensive managed care benefits plans."

A University of Florida study has shown that nearly half of the people who are overweight or obese are unaware that their weight is unhealthy or poses a health risk. In addition, other studies by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have shown that most people don't understand the relationship between the food they eat, the beverages they drink and the effect on their health. This general level of unawareness contributes to the rise in the number of people who are obese or overweight — major risk factors for heart disease, many forms of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other serious health conditions.

Independence Blue Cross reminds members to take advantage of their nutrition counseling benefit and to encourage them to schedule an appointment with a network doctor or registered dietitian. IBC members who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may also take advantage of the referral-free diabetic education program benefits available to them. To locate a health care provider, members may call Customer Service at 1-800-ASK-BLUE, or log on to the member portal, www.ibxpress.com, or access IBX Mobile, a new smart phone application that helps members manage their health plan when they need it most — whether at home, at their doctors' office, or on the go — with a touch of the fingertips.

In addition, anyone may sign up as a "fan" of the IBX Facebook page where they'll find a resource of fitness, nutrition, and health information, including simple exercises, video demonstrations, and advice from fitness guru, Kimberly Garrison. Visitors of this page will also find tips, recipes, and video demonstrations by a Food Network celebrity chef and registered dietitian, Katie Cavuto-Boyle.

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 3.1 million people. For 73 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. Visit us at ibx.com. Fan us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter@ibx.

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