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ASSOCIATED GROUP/COMMUNITY MUTUAL MERGER CREATES ANTHEM BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD

 Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana served from Cincinnati base


CINCINNATI, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- A new name in health care -- Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield -- was introduced today, bringing with it more than a half-century of service and more than 4 million members in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the regional health benefits company created as part of the merger of The Associated Group, an Indianapolis-based diversified insurance and health care company, and Community Mutual Insurance Co. of Cincinnati.

The announcement was made by Dwane R. Houser, Chairman, and L. Ben Lytle, President and CEO of The Associated Group.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, headquartered in Cincinnati, will manage all of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield health care programs underwritten and marketed by Associated Group affiliates in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

"With the introduction of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, The Associated Group becomes one of the largest health care organizations in the United States," Lytle said, "and it is a significant step toward our goal of establishing a truly integrated health care system in our region."

Houser said Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield "will be on the cutting edge of the reinvention of the health care delivery system in our country. The size of our membership, the financial strength of the company and our combined expertise in developing innovative managed care programs will permit us to provide our members with accessible, affordable, high-quality health care benefits."

The Associated Group and Southeastern Group (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kentucky) merged in 1993. The merger involving The Associated Group and Community Mutual was finalized last week following approval by the Ohio and Indiana departments of insurance.

Houser will serve as CEO of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. A new administrative facility is currently being constructed in Mason, north of Cincinnati in Warren County.

Houser also announced the appointment of five key executives as the first step in the reorganization of the company.

Jim Murphy, formerly president of the Southeastern Group in Louisville, will have responsibility for group and individual business in the tri-state region.

"Jim Murphy's success in developing innovative, quality health care benefit programs for the company's Kentucky customers makes him ideally suited to lead this key element of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield," Houser said.

Murphy is joined by four former Community Mutual executives:

*Robert C. Heird, formerly Community Mutual's chief administrative

officer, who will be responsible for administrative services;

*Brad Buxton, formerly Community Mutual senior vice president of

health care management, who will be responsible for managed care

operations;

*Kathy Lutz, formerly a Community Mutual vice president, who will

oversee the development of new technologies and lead the effort to

integrate the best business practices currently used by the merged

companies; and

*Don Mackos, former Community Mutual senior vice president of group

business, who will handle multi-state accounts in the tri-state

region.

Houser said one of the most significant initial tasks of the senior executive team will be to integrate the health care operations in all three states "to bring together the best people, and the best operating procedures, in order to offer our customers, in their own communities, the most accessible, most affordable, highest-quality benefits we can deliver.

"The rapid changes taking place throughout the health care industry require those companies that will survive and prosper to make the best possible use of all of their resources: human, financial and technological," Houser said. "We believe that the merger gives us the opportunity to use our combined financial strength and the vast amount of health care information available to us to the best advantage of our customers and potential customers in this three-state area."
 -0- 10/9/95


/NOTE TO EDITORS: Free logo and photos to accompany this story are available immediately via Wieck Photo Database to any media with telephoto receiver or electronic darkroom, PC or Macintosh, that can accept overhead transmissions. To retrieve the logo or photo, please call 214-392-0888./

/CONTACT: Erik Kirkhorn for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, 513-872-8469, or fax, 513-872-3060/

CO: Associated Group; Community Mutual ST: Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana IN: INS SU: TNM PER

CS-JL -- CL008 -- 3971 10/09/95 10:02 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 9, 1995
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