CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Hamilton County Government and many other businesses across the state have joined the more than 1.6 million commercial members who rely on BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee for their health insurance needs, a figure that has led to continued record-breaking sales in 2003.

During September, approximately 24,000 members enrolled in a BlueCross health care plan for a year-to-date private business enrollment of 1,614,581.

“Our membership growth is outstanding in an economy that is only beginning to recover and still exhibits marginally high unemployment,” said Jim Gray, vice president of sales and account management for BlueCross. “That is a tribute to our products, our service, and most of all to our listening to Tennesseans and responding to their needs.”

A total of 281,850 new persons have become BlueCross members during 2003. Those sales have resulted in a 5.3 percent net enrollment gain in the private commercial market.

“This year could be the most successful in our company’s history,” said Joan Harp, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for BlueCross. “Historic sales and retention figures are a result of not only our strong sales and account management efforts but also our expanded choices of new, innovative and affordable products.”

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.