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WellPoint Ranked #4 Top Company for Executive Women; Fourth Consecutive Year in Top Ten

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 20, 2004--WellPoint (NYSE:WLP), the nation's second largest health insurer, was named one of the top four companies for executive women by the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE). This is the fifth consecutive year WellPoint has been named a leading national company for executive women.

"We are extremely proud that WellPoint continues to be recognized for consistent achievement in recruiting, developing and promoting talented women," said Leonard D. Schaeffer, WellPoint's chairman and chief executive officer. "Our development of female management has long been a Board-directed initiative. By having leadership that mirrors the diversity of our customer-base, we are best able to meet the needs and expectations of WellPoint's customers."

Schaeffer noted that women are the key decision-makers and portal into the health care system for most American families. As a result, women usually have the greatest influence over the purchase of the kinds of services the company offers. "WellPoint's proactive inclusion of women in top management gives us an important advantage in understanding and serving our customers," Schaeffer added.

According to Betty Spence, president of NAFE, "Where the best companies for women stand out is their focus on moving women into the historically male province of profit-and-loss (P&L) responsibility." Schaeffer noted that WellPoint currently has 32 female executives with P&L responsibility.

In order to achieve this success, WellPoint boasts an award-winning Human Resources Planning (HRP) program that provides every associate at the director level or above with a development plan. The HRP program is designed to ensure the orderly succession of well-prepared talent throughout the organization. The program ensures that every leader has a development plan, each officer has a succession candidate and every associate has an opportunity to grow.

The NAFE honor is one of several awards WellPoint has received in recognition of their gender diversity initiatives. WellPoint has been recognized for achievement in gender diversity with the Catalyst Award in 2003 and the WorkForce Optimas Award in 2002.

WellPoint Health Networks Inc. serves the health care needs of more than 14 million medical members and more than 44 million specialty members nationwide through Blue Cross of California, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Missouri, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin, HealthLink and UNICARE. Visit WellPoint on the web at www.wellpoint.com. Blue Cross of California, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Missouri and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.


    CONTACT: WellPoint
             Ken Ferber, 805-557-6794

    SOURCE: WellPoint
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