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Highmark Program Receives Top Community Leadership Award

PALS encourages seniors to help other seniors, remain active

PITTSBURGH, June 19 /PRNewswire/ -- America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Foundation recently honored Highmark Inc.'s PALS (People Able to Lend Support) program with its 2009 Community Foundation Leadership Award. PALS was recognized for its successful efforts in connecting senior citizens with other seniors in their community to enhance their physical and mental health and reduce isolation by providing outlets to make new friends.

PALS began in September 1997 with the goal of providing nonmedical, in-home services and activities to seniors - members and nonmembers - living within the communities served by Highmark. PALS members can volunteer their services out to other seniors in need while they can also take part in activities such as book clubs, quilting clubs and walking clubs.

During the past 11 years, PALS has increased its services to include 52 book clubs in 14 counties, 12 walking clubs in county parks and senior high-rises and quilt clubs that donate lap robes to seniors living in nursing facilities.

The clubs, along with various other PALS activities, have had a far-reaching, positive impact by allowing seniors to enhance their physical and mental health through weekly exercise programs and fellowship activities within their own communities.

The AHIP Foundation's Community Leadership Awards Program annually recognizes AHIP member organizations for leading practices and programs in the health insurance plan industry. The awards focus on innovation in the areas of community outreach and services and must identify and address a specific problem concerning the community.

Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of AHIP, said, "The leadership, commitment, initiative, and cooperation demonstrated by this year's award winners show how each of us can make a difference and positively affect those around us. Health plans across the country are leading by example to improve the health and environment of the communities they serve."

About Highmark Inc.

As one of the leading health insurers in Pennsylvania, Highmark Inc.'s mission is to provide access to affordable, quality health care enabling individuals to live longer, healthier lives. Based in Pittsburgh, Highmark serves 4.6 million people through the company's health care benefits business. Highmark contributes millions of dollars to help keep quality health care programs affordable and to support community-based programs that work to improve people's health. Highmark exerts an enormous economic impact throughout Pennsylvania. A recent study states that Highmark's positive impact exceeded $2.5 billion. The company provides the resources to give its members a greater hand in their health.

Highmark Inc. is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information, visit

SOURCE Highmark Inc.
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