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Empire BlueCross BlueShield Associates Commit Over $1 Million to Community Organizations in 2008

NEW YORK, Dec. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Empire BlueCross BlueShield today announced that its employees committed more than $1 million to not-for-profit organizations through its 2008 Associate Giving Campaign. This amount is the result of personal giving by associates with a 50 percent match from the WellPoint Foundation, Inc.

"In this difficult economy, our community and health services organizations are especially in need of help," said Mark Wagar, president and CEO of Empire BlueCross BlueShield. "We surpassed all our expectations for this year's campaign and the generosity of our associates highlights a compassion and commitment to supporting the communities where they live and work."

In addition to the support provided directly by its associates, in 2008 Empire BlueCross BlueShield reached out to many diverse community organizations to bring health improvement messages to local boroughs and communities in a more effective manner. This included working with local schools on health, wellness and exercise programs, community health centers familiar with populations at greater risk, and partnering with various established city and state initiatives already underway.

"The success of this campaign complements other efforts like our 'Mighty Milers' program with the New York Road Runners Foundation (NYRRF), a program that partners with local schools to teach children the value of incorporating physical activity into their everyday routine as part of a healthy lifestyle," added Wagar. "It's another example of our commitment to ensuring underserved populations receive the attention and education they need to attain good health and well being."

Nationwide, associates of WellPoint, Empire's parent company, pledged more than $16 million to nearly 10,000 charities. The 50 percent match from the WellPoint Foundation will raise that total to more than $24 million. The WellPoint Foundation, together with its state subsidiary foundations, is one of the nation's largest corporate foundations with net assets of nearly $200 million.

"Through the efforts of our foundations across the country we can help address local health concerns," said Caroline 'Caz' Matthews, president of the WellPoint Foundation. "But we go beyond simply providing dollars by giving of our time through our national Community Service Day, where associates volunteer in our communities to have an even greater impact. In the end, our focus allows us to have a measurable and sustainable impact on critical health care needs in the communities we serve."

More information about Empire BlueCross BlueShield can be found at .

About Empire BlueCross BlueShield

Empire BlueCross BlueShield (Empire) is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Inc., and Empire BlueCross BlueShield HMO is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice HMO, Inc., independent licensees of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, serving residents and businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York State. Empire BlueCross BlueShield, the largest health insurer in New York State based on PPO and HMO membership, is a subsidiary of WellPoint, Inc. Additional information about Empire is available at .

SOURCE Empire BlueCross BlueShield
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