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Blue Shield of California Hits the Streets to Let Californians Have Their Say on Health Care

As Part of "We (Shield) You" Campaign, Company Sets up Video "Chat Boxes" Around California to Find Out How Californians Feel About Healthcare

Name: Melody Parrette/Leasa Ireland

Title: LPI Communications for Blue Shield of California

Phone: 858-361-9731 or 310-796-1936


Blue Shield of California announced today that it is hitting the streets to take California's healthcare pulse, giving people a chance to sound off with video "Chat Boxes" that will be set up around major cities this month. With health care at the top of California's agenda, the not-for-profit company wants to hear people's concerns, experiences and stories - the good, bad and unbearable - honest and uncensored.

The "Chat Box" campaign is part of Blue Shield's broad efforts to acknowledge consumer dissatisfaction with the health insurance industry, as reflected in a Harris Interactive poll released in May 2006, consumers rated health and managed-care companies just above oil and tobacco, the two lowest-ranking categories, when asked how different industries serve their customers. The company has committed to addressing consumer concerns about the cost and complexity of health care, and is asking Californians to share their stories. If someone had trouble understanding their health plan and that impacted their care, couldn't fill out the right codes to get timely treatment for a condition, or just wants to share an opinion about the possibility of universal health care, Blue Shield of California wants to hear it.

"We're all healthcare consumers and all Californians have vital information to help us improve service," said Doug Biehn, Blue Shield's vice president of corporate marketing. "It's crucial to hear feedback from your customers in any industry, but it's somewhat revolutionary in healthcare. By letting real people have their say, Chat Boxes will provide a roadmap to help us communicate more effectively and provide better service to our members."

The video "Chat Boxes" are part of a larger "We (Shield) You" marketing and advertising campaign that highlights problems in healthcare and insurance, and Blue Shield's methods to address them. Some of the most noteworthy stories culled from the "Chat Boxes" will be posted online at and might be considered for one of the Company's upcoming television ad spots.

As part of its not-for-profit mission, Blue Shield has long been a leader in advocating for health coverage for all Californians. In 2002, Blue Shield CEO Bruce Bodaken became the first health plan chief executive in the country to propose a specific plan for universal coverage and the company is actively involved in efforts to enact comprehensive health reform in California this year. The company is also dedicated to making health insurance easier for consumers with improvements like simpler explanations of benefits, customized online portals and instant telephone access to customer service representatives.

Background on Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California, an independent member of the Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health care company dedicated to providing Californians with access to high quality care at a reasonable price. Founded in 1939, it now has 3.2 million members, 4,200 employees, one of the largest provider networks and more than 20 office locations, providing a wide range of commercial and government products throughout the state. In 2006, the company contributed $30 million to the Blue Shield of California Foundation to fund nonprofit organizations that improve access to quality health care in California. Contact your local agent or broker for more information about Blue Shield products and services, or visit the Blue Shield website at .