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Leonard Schaeffer to Receive Healthcare IT Executive Award

THOUSAND OAKS, CA, May. 17, 2004 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- Leonard D. Schaeffer, chairman and chief executive officer of WellPoint (NYSE: WLP), the nation's second largest health plan, was named a recipient of the 2004 CEO IT Achievement Award by Modern Healthcare magazine and the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMMS). The award will be presented at a June 14 dinner during HIMMS' summer conference.

Schaeffer won the honor for his leadership using technology to drive evidence-based medicine and standardization designed to enhance patient care, reduce administrative costs and improve physician communications.

"I am deeply honored by this recognition. It supports my belief that IT-enabled health plans can accelerate the transition to a knowledge-based, more efficient and safer health care system, resulting in lower costs for physicians and better medical outcomes for patients," said Schaeffer. "Health plans must move toward the role of infomediary, using their membership to collect, aggregate and interpret data to help caregivers ensure that the patient is receiving the right care at the right place at the right time."

The award also recognizes WellPoint's program to offer technology with a retail value of approximately $42 million to more than 20,000 network physicians. The program offers a choice of an e-prescribing unit or desktop paperwork reduction package. "The faster we can jumpstart the move toward an electronic medical community, the faster we will see improvement in the delivery of medical care," Schaeffer said.

WellPoint Health Networks Inc. serves the health care needs of more than 15.3 million medical members and approximately 46 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:
Ken Ferber
(805) 557-6794

SOURCE: WellPoint


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