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WellPoint Joins Fight to End Teen Substance Abuse, Sponsors CASA Family Day -- A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children on September 27th

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 24, 2004--WellPoint Health Networks Inc. (NYSE:WLP), the nation's second largest health insurer, is joining with the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) to encourage families to reduce substance abuse among children and teens by pledging to have a family dinner on Monday, September 27th.

"As a founding sponsor of CASA, WellPoint is honored to be a sponsor of CASA's fourth annual family day," said Leonard D. Schaeffer, chairman and chief executive officer of WellPoint. "Frequent family meals can improve the quality of life for all family members, and especially for children and teens. Unfortunately, the frequency of family meals decreases as children grow older. That's also a time when substance abuse begins.

"I have encouraged all 20,000 WellPoint associates across the nation to join me in celebrating CASA's Family Day by pledging to have a meal with their families and to make that mealtime an ongoing commitment," Schaeffer said.

Joseph A. Califano, Jr., former U.S. Secretary of Health Education and Welfare, who is CASA's chairman and president, said, "The nation's substance abuse problem is all about children and it will be solved in the living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens across America. Support from companies such as WellPoint is critical to the success of this initiative."

Woodrow Myers, M.D., WellPoint's Chief Medical Officer, added, "CASA's research at Columbia University has demonstrated that children and teens who regularly dine with their families are less likely to smoke, drink or use drugs. They also tend to perform better in school and have better eating habits. Through its Healthy Parenting initiative, WellPoint has consistently supported initiatives that improve the health of our nation's children. Therefore, it is only logical that WellPoint support this unique CASA program."

WellPoint Health Networks Inc. serves the health care needs of 15.5 million medical members and 46.2 million specialty members nationwide through Blue Cross of California, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, Blue Cross 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 Blue Shield of Georgia, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.


    CONTACT: WellPoint Health Networks Inc.
             Ken Ferber, 805-557-6794

    SOURCE: WellPoint Health Networks Inc.
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