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BeneTrac Forms Alliance with Blue Shield of California; Awarded Preferred Vendor Status.

Business Editors

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 18, 2003

BeneTrac announced today that it has been named a preferred vendor in the area of Web-based enrollment and benefits management by Blue Shield of California. The preferred Web-based enrollment vendor program was created by Blue Shield of California to benefit customer groups by offering preferred pricing on selected products and services from vendors that have undergone and passed an extensive review process.

For employers, Web-based enrollment simplifies and reduces the resource-intensive work of collecting, organizing and submitting employee benefit information individually to a variety of carriers. BeneTrac has been used extensively to enroll employer groups with 50 - 1,000 employees, although it can also serve the needs of companies with many more employees. BeneTrac's flexible program allows for easy online management of a range of employee benefits, including medical, vision, life, dental, disability, voluntary benefits, flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and cafeteria benefit plans.

According to BeneTrac, achieving Blue Shield of California's preferred vendor status was awarded on the basis of a number of criteria, including:

-- Strong client base with successful account track record

-- Sound distribution channel with flexible service capacity

-- Financial stability

-- Experienced relationships with other California and national

carriers

-- Cost-effective solution with customization capabilities

-- Commitment to technical innovation

Jerry Hawthorne, president and chief executive officer of BeneTrac, commented, "We look forward to working with Blue Shield of California on some exciting new cross-promotions. The true beneficiaries of this alliance will be the brokers and employer groups throughout California. As this program gets rolling, they stand to receive significant savings through preferred pricing and subsidies, as well as a proven technology for streamlining benefits administration."

According to Hawthorne, "When employers choose to manage their benefits online, it saves them time, which ultimately saves them money. All employers are looking for ways to rein in healthcare costs, and BeneTrac offers a very effective, customer-friendly solution. These benefits, in conjunction with the new pricing incentives that Blue Shield and BeneTrac will be offering reciprocally, make it a win-win situation for all."

"Blue Shield of California continues to look for ways to address employers' increasing needs to contain healthcare costs," said Chris Ohman, senior vice president and chief executive of Blue Shield's commercial business unit. "BeneTrac and other preferred vendors have given us the opportunity to offer a program that streamlines the benefits administration process, provides significant savings in time and improves efficiencies in data gathering and delivery."

About Hawthorne Benefit Technologies Inc.

Hawthorne Benefit Technologies, based in San Diego, was one of the first West Coast companies to offer a Web-based electronic enrollment and employee benefits administration solution (BeneTrac) for human resource managers. Sold exclusively through insurance brokers and benefits consultants, Hawthorne's ASP technologies are designed to combine efficiencies of the Internet with established insurance distribution models. More information about Hawthorne's custom solutions for BeneTrac and BeneQuote, an online quoting system for insurance agents and brokers, is available respectively at www.benetrac.com and www.benequote.com, or by contacting their San Diego offices at 877-645-4342. Hawthorne Benefit Technologies is located at 2251 San Diego Ave., Ste. A-150, San Diego, CA 92101.

About Blue Shield of California

Founded in 1939, Blue Shield of California is one of the state's leading healthcare companies. Headquartered in San Francisco, the not-for-profit corporation has approximately 2.6 million members, 4,200 employees and more than 20 office locations throughout California. For more information on Blue Shield, visit the company's Web site at www.mylifepath.com. Blue Shield of California is an Independent Member of the Blue Shield Association. The BlueCross BlueShield Association is an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 18, 2003
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