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Press Release

Media Contacts:

Craig Andrews
Empire BlueCross BlueShield
(212) 476-7007

NEW YORK – August 5, 2010 – We are pleased to let you know that Empire BlueCross BlueShield and Stellaris Health Network have agreed to a new three-year contract, effective August 1, 2010. The contract restores in-network access to Stellaris facilities and providers for Empire members and employer groups. No action is required by Empire members to continue services at any Stellaris facility including, White Plains Hospital, Northern Westchester Hospital, Phelps Memorial Hospital and Lawrence Hospital Center.

If you are a member enrolled in commercial HMO, EPO, POS, PPO or indemnity products or Medicare Advantage HMO and PPO products you may once again receive covered services at Stellaris facilities and from physicians who are contracted with Stellaris -- with the highest level of benefits and lowest out-of-pocket cost.

Notably, this new agreement takes a significant step towards aligning payment with value by paying Stellaris for improving quality and reducing avoidable readmission. In addition, the contract now ensures that Stellaris will not receive reimbursement for services they provide to care for preventable adverse events and hospital acquired conditions.

Members, like yourself, have made it clear that creating arrangements that promote improved patient safety and outcomes is as much of a priority as maintaining affordability. For these reasons we believe that this contract serves our customers' and members' interests well, and will serve as a framework for future arrangements.

We recognize how difficult the out-of-network situation has been for some of you and we are pleased to have a new agreement that allows both Empire and Stellaris to partner in a way that recognizes our joint responsibilities in helping to improve the quality and affordability of healthcare.

About Empire BlueCross BlueShield
Empire BlueCross BlueShield (Empire) is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Inc., and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice HMO, Inc., independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, serving residents and businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York State. Additional information about Empire is available at