BlueChoice HealthPlan Launches Medicaid Benefits in 10 S.C.Counties

April 30, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – April 30, 2008 – The S.C. Department of Health and Human Services has approved BlueChoice® HealthPlan of South Carolina, a subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, to offer Medicaid benefits in 10 counties. An estimated 138,000 residents in Bamberg, Calhoun, Chester, Kershaw, Lancaster, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter and York counties will have BlueChoice HealthPlan as a new option for their Medicaid benefits beginning in May.

Plan benefits will be offered through BlueChoice HealthPlan and administered by a WellPoint Inc. (NYSE: WLP) affiliate in South Carolina. Members 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, used in other states, designed support members with outreach services that promote health and help members more 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.

 “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. Through a SCDHHS Enrollment Counseling Service, approximately 550,000 statewide beneficiaries may enroll with private companies offering Medicaid managed care plans. With the assistance of a counselor, the beneficiary selects a primary care doctor in a private company’s managed care network and the doctor provides or arranges for the beneficiary’s medical care.

Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., 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. A wholly owned subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, Blue Choice HealthPlan is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina also 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.

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