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Press Release

Independence Blue Cross Inspires and Motivates 40 Employers to Walk for Wellness

Fourth annual National Walk @ Lunch Day is set for April 27, 2011

Philadelphia, PA - March 17, 2011 - Independence Blue Cross (IBC) welcomed 40 area employers to a kick off breakfast today for the fourth annual National Walk @ Lunch Day, which will be held April 27, 2011. A centralized Philadelphia walk will be held at City Hall, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., while smaller walks will take place throughout the region at employer sites, schools, government offices, and senior centers. Walking is among the easiest forms of exercise and the reasons to walk are numerous.

The cost to treat illness and chronic disease caused by inactive lifestyles is nearly $1,000 for every family in America every year, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates. Simply getting 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as a brisk walk, at least five times a week has significant health benefits, including lowering the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes, and improving the health of muscles, bones and joints.

Nearly 11,000 walkers from 100 companies and organizations are expected to participate in National Walk @ Lunch Day in our region, including an anticipated 5,000 Center City employees who will complete a 1.5 mile loop at City Hall. Ninety-eight percent of the employers who attended IBC's kick off breakfast committed to walking in the 2011 event, either at City Hall or by hosting an event at their own location. An online toolkit is provided by IBC to all participants to help them plan a safe and inspiring event for employees. The 39 Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans across the country are expected to sponsor lunchtime walks in all 50 states on April 27.

"Our customers know that keeping employees healthy is one of the most effective ways to reduce health care costs for the company and for their workforce," said Dr. Richard Snyder, IBC's chief medical officer. "Walking burns fat and calories, strengthens muscles, and boosts metabolism. This makes National Walk @ Lunch Day an especially fitting launch for any company-wide wellness initiative because the event motivates participants to make exercise part of their daily lunchtime routine."

Many employers have expanded on the principle of National Walk @ Lunch Day with WalkingWorksTM, a 10-week program started by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association that encourages participants to log their steps online for free, and keep the walking momentum going to further inspire workplace exercise, fun activities, and camaraderie.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association sponsors National Walk @ Lunch Day at the national level and anticipates that tens of thousands of walkers will participate across the country on April 27. In 2010, IBC hosted the most successful National Walk @ Lunch Day in the country with nearly 10,000 employees from 70 companies walking at City Hall and other suburban locations.

"We applaud our customers' commitment to action around preventive health," said Linda Taylor, chief sales and marketing executive at IBC. "We want to empower our members to adopt healthier lifestyles, become better health care consumers, and to help reduce costs and live more fulfilling lives. National Walk @ Lunch Day supports this goal and also compliments the innovative programs offered by IBC, such as Healthy Steps, our social media campaign that encourages Facebook users to take small but effective steps toward healthier living."

Each year, IBC supports events and activities designed to promote physical exercise and healthy lifestyle decisions by its members and the community. In addition to National Walk @ Lunch Day, the company's sponsorship includes the Blue Cross Broad Street Run on May 1, Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes on October 1, and the Blue Cross RiverRink along the Delaware River, which reopens for the winter season November 25. Watch a short video that highlights IBC's signature events.

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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