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Health Care Service Corporation Receives National Recognition for Employee Wellness Efforts

WELCOA gives HCSC Gold Level "Well Workplace Award"

CHICAGO, March 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Wellness Councils of America (WELCOA) recently awarded Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) a 2007 Gold-level "Well Workplace Award." The recognition honors HCSC for the implementation of successful wellness programs at its Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

In bestowing its awards, WELCOA conducts rigorous evaluations of the quality of corporate health promotion programs. Gold level winners must illustrate how their wellness initiatives have changed employees' behaviors. Employers also must show a solid foundation for the discussion and practice of wellness in the workplace at all levels of the organization.

"HCSC is committed to its employees' health and wellness," Patrick O'Connor, HCSC's senior vice president and chief human resources officer, said. "HCSC encourages and rewards its employees for taking action to enhance their health, and supports them by providing a comprehensive set of wellness programs and tools."

HCSC's wellness tools range from health assessment and health planning tools; health educational resources; lifestyle management programs; worksite wellness initiatives; and motivational and incentive programs.

Throughout 2007 and into 2008, thousands of HCSC employees have participated in the company's wellness programs in a variety of ways:

-- 10,000 employees and dependents completed health risk assessments in 2007.

-- More than 4,000 participated in company health fairs.

-- 8,000 employees participated in body composition, blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes screenings.

-- 8,600 employees (50 percent of HCSC's employee population) have elected to receive regularly scheduled health tips via e-mail.

-- More than half of the company has registered to participate in a new nine-month walking campaign.

-- 12,000 participants have participated in a variety of online wellness programs, which cover a variety of topics including weight and stress management, exercise and ergonomics.

-- The new vending machine program, called "Face Up to Your Health," helps employees make more informed selections at the vending machine.

"Successful wellness programs require more than talk, they require clear strategies, a plan of action, comprehensive tools, and methods of evaluation," said Paul B. Handel, MD, HCSC's chief medical officer, who oversees the company's health and wellness programs.

HCSC, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, is the largest customer-owned health insurer in the United States and the fourth largest health insurer in the country overall, with 12.3 million members in its Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. HCSC has a rating of AA- (Very Strong) from Standard and Poor's, Aa3 (Excellent) from Moody's and A+ (Superior) from A.M. Best Co. HCSC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
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