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Press Release

Independence Blue Cross Rallies Community to Help U.S. Marines Save "Toys for Tots" Drive

IBC initiates a "final push" in the region; donates toys and announces toy-for-toys match program

Philadelphia, PA - December 15, 2011 - In the wake of the unprecedented donation crisis facing the U.S. Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program in the Philadelphia region, Independence Blue Cross (IBC), the leading health insurer in Philadelphia, PA, today announced its immediate gift of 1,000 toys and a toy-for-toy match donation program. For every new, unwrapped gift donated to the drop-off center in the courtyard outside IBC's Center City offices, IBC will match that gift for Toys for Tots with up to 2,500 gifts. This effort could ultimately result in 6,000 toys being donated within the next week.

In addition, IBC will also work with its partners, other key business leaders, and its associates to further drive immediate donations to Toys for Tots.

Toys for Tots, across the five-county Philadelphia region, is currently facing a significant donation crisis with only 25,000 gifts donated so far this holiday season, compared to more than 113,000 gifts in 2010. Donations across all counties have experienced an 80 percent decline, which has resulted in 90,000 fewer gifts for distribution to local children in need.

"Thousands of boys and girls in our region are facing the threat of not having a gift this holiday season. We're going to do all we can to help the Marine Corps make sure this doesn't happen. The U.S. Marines have never let us down, and we can't let them down," said Daniel J. Hilferty, IBC president and CEO. "Toys for Tots is as much a part of Philadelphia's holiday season as the light show at Macy's, The Philadelphia Orchestra's Glorious Sounds of Christmas, or Comcast's Holiday Spectacular."

Hilferty said he is also reaching out to the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and thousands of other business leaders to participate in the gift drive. He also noted he has asked IBC associates to consider contributing gifts for Toys for Tots. As part of a 20-year tradition, associates of IBC this year contributed gifts for each of the more than 280 kindergarten through fourth grade students who attend the Isaac A. Sheppard School in North Philadelphia.

United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Marc Palos, coordinator for the Philadelphia chapter of Toys for Tots, said, "The ongoing economic downturn has only increased the need for Toys for Tots this holiday season, especially in the Philadelphia region. With only 10 days until the holiday, our donation crisis has never been clearer. If you have the capacity to give, please do. Children across the Philadelphia region are counting on us."

New, unwrapped gifts can be dropped off in the courtyard outside Independence Blue Cross at 1901 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA, now through 6 p.m., Wednesday, December 21. A list of additional drop-off locations for Toys for Tots and a link to make a monetary donation are available at www.ibx.com.

For more information about IBC's commitment to Toys for Tots, please visit www.ibx.com.

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. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit us at ibx.com. Fan us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter@ibx.

About Marine Toys for Tots Foundation

The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is a not for profit organization authorized by the U.S. Marine Corps and the Department of Defense to provide fundraising and other necessary support for the annual U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. Now in its 65th year, Toys for Tots provides joy and a message of hope to less fortunate children through the gift of a new toy or book during the Christmas holiday season. Our gifts offer these children hope, recognition, and a positive memory they will cherish for a lifetime. Many of the books, games and sports equipment that we provide as gifts make a significant contribution to the educational, social and physical development of these children. In 2010, Marines distributed toys to more than 7.2 million children who might now have otherwise experienced the magic of the Christmas holiday season. Additional information can be found online at www.toysfortots.org

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