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S.C. BlueCross Launches Less-Costly Plans Geared to Groups Seeking More Options

June 16, 2008

Columbia, S.C. -- BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina this month introduces Blue SpectrumSM, a rebranding of the company’s health insurance plans that also adds less-costly plans designed for groups and individuals seeking more options.

"With increasing health care costs forcing rising premium prices, some individuals and employers are either dropping their insurance or not picking it up to begin with," said BlueCross BlueShield Division President David Pankau. "With the introduction of a variety of new product designs, we are providing options that might help companies continue to provide health insurance coverage."

Blue Spectrum eventually will include several layers of health plan options for small group employers and individuals. Business BlueSM is a series of plans for groups of two to 50 employees, and Personal BlueSM plans accommodate individuals. Three group products are now available under Business Blue: Business BlueSM Complete, a full coverage plan; Business BlueSM HDHP; and a new plan called Business BlueSM Secure.

Business Blue Secure offers similar coverage but adds cost reduction factors that allow for a lower premium. It addresses the needs of employees who want a plan with good benefits, and it helps the employer in balancing coverage and costs.

Later this year, additional plans will be introduced under the Blue Spectrum portfolio, including the first new individual plans to be offered by BlueCross in over 10 years. The new plans include:

Business BlueSM Basic and Personal BlueSM Basic, which offer the lowest premiums and meet basic insurance needs, such as access to health care without fear of large medical bills.
An individual plan available for local chambers of commerce members called Personal True BlueSM, an addition to the existing group plans available to chamber members.
Two high deductible health plan (HDHP) group plans called Business BlueSM HDHRA, designed to offer a health reimbursement account (HRA) option integrated with the HDHP.

All BlueCross members will benefit from BlueCross’ PPO network, the largest in the state, and the Blue Card Worldwide® network that allows in-network access to providers in other states served by other Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.

Business Blue Complete, Business Blue Secure and Business Blue HDHP, all of which agents began quoting in May, are the first products launched under the overall group of Blue Spectrum plans. The rest will be available in the third and fourth quarters. All new and existing group and individuals will have transitioned to the new products or new product names by late 2009.

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 plan and Medicare contracts, and other insurance and employee benefits services.

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