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Companion Data Services Wins Contract to be One of Three Medicare Data Centers

March 21, 2006

Columbia, S.C. -- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded a contract worth up to $1.9 billion over 10 years for the agency’s new enterprise data centers, to Companion Data Services LLC, a subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, and two other companies.

Companion Data Services (CDS) operates an enterprise data center in Columbia, S.C. The company will have 180 people on staff, with approximately 30 located in Columbia and the remainder in Dallas, where its program management office is located. These will be transferred from within the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina family of companies.

The three contractors, CDS, EDS Corp and IBM Corp., will compete for data center task orders through the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracting vehicle. As task orders are awarded, CDS will hire positions from outside the company. The award has a three-year base period with seven one-year options.

All CMS software applications and hosting operations for Medicare, Medicaid and the state children’s health insurance program, or SCHIP, currently running in 20 data centers, will transition to the three new data centers over the next five years, according to CMS.

Companion Data Services currently handles work related to more than 200 million Medicare claims per year and anticipates the volume to grow to as much as 500 million per year. The contract also allows the company to bid on other non-claims-related Medicare contracts.

"We are very pleased and excited that CMS has again recognized our corporate commitment to supporting the Medicare program through the selection of Companion Data Services in the electronic data center procurement," said M. Edward Sellers, CEO and Chairman of the Board of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina or its subsidiary companies have served Medicare since its inception in 1966. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.

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