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BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and WellPoint Affiliate Receive State Approval for Ten South Carolina Counties

BlueChoice(R) HealthPlan to offer Medicaid benefits in Bamberg, Calhoun, Chester, Kershaw, Lancaster, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter and

York Counties

INDIANAPOLIS and COLUMBIA, S.C., April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and WellPoint Inc. (NYSE: WLP) announced today the approval by the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to offer Medicaid benefits to eligible individuals in 10 counties in South Carolina. Plan benefits will be offered through BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina, a subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, and administered by a WellPoint affiliate in South Carolina.

Beginning in May, Medicaid eligible residents in Bamberg, Calhoun, Chester, Kershaw, Lancaster, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter and York counties will have a new option when selecting Medicaid health benefits. Members enrolled in BlueChoice HealthPlan will have access to a credentialed network of health care providers contracted with BlueChoice HealthPlan. They also will have access to the WellPoint affiliate's unique community based model designed to help support members with outreach services that promote health and help members easily navigate the health care system.

"BlueChoice HealthPlan is very pleased to be able to launch our plan to Medicaid beneficiaries in these 10 counties. BlueChoice HealthPlan is also working to rapidly expand statewide. The BlueCross BlueShield name is easily recognizable in our state and we know we'll bring great value to our fellow South Carolinians," said BlueChoice HealthPlan President Mary Mazzola Spivey.

The estimated 138,000 eligible residents in these counties will also become familiar with their new choice as BlueChoice HealthPlan and WellPoint unveil a new multi-media campaign beginning this week. "We are very excited about this teaming arrangement with a company that has a long history in South Carolina, and together we are committed to increasing awareness around the resources available to our most vulnerable citizens," said Brian Sassi, CEO, Consumer Business for WellPoint. "The personal help we will give Medicaid beneficiaries through our community involvement will help many residents ensure they receive access to quality health care."

The S.C. Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) introduced managed care to the Medicaid population in 1996 and has carefully expanded the program since then. SCDHHS began using an Enrollment Counseling Service last year. Enrollment is being introduced in four phases, with approximately 550,000 statewide beneficiaries eligible to enroll with private companies offering Medicaid managed care plans. With the assistance of a counselor, the beneficiary will select a primary care doctor in the private company's managed care network. The primary care doctor will provide or arrange for the beneficiary's medical care.

About BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina:

Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and its family of companies include more than 20 subsidiaries involved in health insurance services, U.S. DoD health program and Medicare contracts, and other insurance and employee benefits services.

BlueChoice HealthPlan ( is the oldest and largest managed care company in South Carolina. BlueChoice HealthPlan has held the highest possible designation from the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) over 14 years. BlueChoice HealthPlan is a wholly owned subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. Blue Choice is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. (R)Registered mark of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About WellPoint, Inc.:

WellPoint, Inc. is the largest health benefits company in terms of medical membership in the United States. WellPoint is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and serves its members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as Empire Blue Cross or Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the city of Fairfax, the town of Vienna and the area east of State Route 123.), Wisconsin; and through UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at .

SOURCE WellPoint Inc.
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