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Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Recognized by BusinessWeek, Modern Healthcare and AARP as a Top Workplace
Date:9/29/2008

CHICAGO, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) has been recognized by BusinessWeek, Modern Healthcare and AARP for cultivating a workplace culture that supports the careers of both new and mature employees, and for being among the best places to hold a career in the healthcare industry.

BusinessWeek magazine has named BCBSA as one of the "Best Places to Launch a Career," while Modern Healthcare recognized BCBSA as one of the "Best Places to Work in Healthcare." AARP also identified BCBSA as a "Best Employer for Workers Over 50." This is the second consecutive year that BCBSA has appeared in both BusinessWeek and AARP's rankings.

"Recognition from BusinessWeek, Modern Healthcare and AARP underscores Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association's commitment to enhancing not only the lives of our members, but also those of all our employees," said Scott P. Serota, BCBSA president and CEO. "We are proud of our exceptional work force, and we are pleased to reward their performance and dedication with competitive benefits, pay and workplace culture initiatives."

BusinessWeek -- "Best Places to Launch a Career"

The third annual edition of BusinessWeek's "Best Places to Launch a Career" list ranks the country's best entry-level employers in categories including internships, recruiting, pay and benefits, training and long-term prospects. For the second year in a row, BCBSA appeared on the list, ranking 66th among 119 nationally recognized employers, including Google, Lockheed Martin, UPS and Merck.

(http://bwnt.businessweek.com/interactive_reports/career_launch_2008/in dex.asp)

Finalists were determined based on data from three surveys. Approximately 260 career-services directors at top public and private colleges and universities, from liberal arts to engineering schools, were asked to identify top employers for entry-level workers in 17 industries.

In addition, more than 40,000 undergraduates in every academic discipline were asked to rank the top employers they would most like to work for. Finally, employers eligible for the final ranking were asked to submit detailed survey information on hiring, pay, benefits training programs, retention and advancement.

In its seventh year, the BCBSA internship program draws students from top colleges and universities in the Chicago and Washington, D.C., areas. Interns work on project and team-oriented assignments, are provided training and feedback on their performance, attend "lunch and learn" sessions with management, and perform group presentation progress reports to BCBSA employees.

According to BusinessWeek, 89 percent of new entry-level hires at BCBSA are women, and 77 percent are minorities.

"BusinessWeek's recognition validates Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association's commitment to our new employees through best-in-class recruiting, pay, benefits and other human resources initiatives," said William J. Colbourne, BCBSA's senior vice president, human resources and administrative resources.

Modern Healthcare -- Best Places to Work in Healthcare

BCBSA is featured on Modern Healthcare's inaugural list of the "100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare," which recognizes outstanding employers in the healthcare industry across the United States. Almost 240 healthcare companies participated in this first-ever healthcare workplace listing, which is available online at http://www.ModernHealthcare.com/bestplacestowork. WellPoint, Inc., an independent licensee of BCBSA serving members in 14 states, also was named. A more detailed list, including specific rankings and recipient profiles, will be available on Oct. 27, 2008.

To create the list, Modern Healthcare collected information from both employers -- detailing company policies, practices, benefits and demographics -- and employees, who responded to an in-depth questionnaire. Combining this data allowed for analysis in eight key areas -- leadership and planning, culture and communications, role satisfaction, working environment, relationship with supervisor, training and development, pay and benefits, and overall satisfaction.

"By naming Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association a 'Best Place to Work in Healthcare,' Modern Healthcare acknowledges the many ways the company is creating an excellent workplace for its employees, so they may in turn work each day to advance our U.S. healthcare system," said Colbourne.

AARP -- "Best Employers for Workers Over 50"

As a 2008 recipient of the "AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50" award, BCBSA is recognized for a second year in a row for its innovative practices and policies that address the aging work force. BCBSA climbed an impressive 36 spots from last year's list, now ranking 10th among 50 companies from a wide variety of industries, including organizations such as SC Johnson, Cornell University, and L.L. Bean, Inc. BCBSA led the rankings for the state of Illinois. In addition, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey joined BCBSA on the list.

(http://www.aarpmagazine.org/money/2008_best_employers.html).

"Receiving recognition from AARP affirms our continuing efforts to create a workplace that meets the work-life needs of our employees of all ages," said Colbourne.

When selecting employers for this recognition program, AARP evaluates companies on their recruiting methods, workplace culture, training and career development opportunities, benefits and opportunities for retirees.

Currently, 37 percent of the BCBSA staff is over the age of 50. A variety of programs for established employees, such as BCBSA's "Mature Workers Program," provide resources, including tuition reimbursement for special interest classes, free flu shots, half price financial planning, an in-house low-cost M.B.A. program, and pre-retirement seminars. BCBSA also offers the Fit Over Fifty fitness program and a Sabbatical Program for mature employees.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 39 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 102 million individuals -- one-in-three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit http://www.BCBS.com.


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SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
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