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Medi-CareFirst Urges Medicare Beneficiaries To Enroll Now to Secure Lowest Cost Rx Coverage

Medicare Part D Costs Rise After May 15

OWINGS MILLS, MD (May 9, 2006) – Medi-CareFirst, a CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield affiliate, is preparing for the May 15 enrollment deadline for the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. In anticipation of an influx of program interest, the insurer is offering seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries information to help make the application process as easy as possible.

To address the increased call and application volume, which have more than doubled in the last month, Medi-CareFirst has hired more staff to answer questions and take enrollments over the phone. In addition, all CareFirst employees have had the opportunity to learn more about Medi-CareFirst to give them a better sense of the program and enhance their comfort level with the Medicare Prescription Drug Program.

"We want our employees to encourage their loved ones to call Medi-CareFirst to get answers to their questions," said Gregory A. Devou, CareFirst Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. "We are trying to come up with innovative solutions to help guide seniors through what can be a complicated process."

Medi-CareFirst is offering informational seminars in libraries across Maryland. Medicare beneficiaries also have the opportunity to visit local CareFirst offices in Maryland and Delaware to receive information and one-on-one enrollment assistance during the last week of the initial six-month open enrollment period, which began Nov. 15, 2005.

After May 15, current Medicare beneficiaries may still enroll, but will have to wait for the next enrollment period, which is November 15, 2006 through December 31, 2006. Those beneficiaries who wait will pay a 7 percent lifetime penalty.

"We recommend that people enroll online at www.medi-carefirst.com, or over the phone at 1-888-784-0790," said Devou. "The most important thing to remember is that applications must be postmarked by May 15."

Out of 19 private insurers offering a Medicare prescription drug benefit in the Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C. region, Medi-CareFirst is among the top three in enrollment through April, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Medi-CareFirst is the only Blue Cross Blue Shield-licensed Medicare Part D plan offered in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Delaware.

Medi-CareFirst is the trading name of FirstCare, Inc., an affiliate of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health care company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to more than 3.4 million individuals and groups in Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Delaware. Through its CareFirst Commitment initiative and other public mission activities, CareFirst supports efforts to increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of health care throughout its market areas.

To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, see our web site at http:/www.carefirst.com

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Serving Maryland, the District of Columbia and portions of Virginia. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield is the shared business name of CareFirst of Maryland, Inc. and Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc. CareFirst BlueChoice, Inc., an affiliate company, also offers health benefit products and services on this site.

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and CareFirst BlueChoice, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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