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National Business Group on Health Awards Gold to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota for Promoting a Healthy Workplace
Date:5/14/2008

EAGAN, Minn., May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) was one of only 52 companies nationally to be recognized by the National Business Group on Health on May 12 for its efforts to promote and improve a healthier working environment as part of the Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles awards. Blue Cross was the only health plan in Minnesota to receive the award.

The National Business Group on Health, a national nonprofit, honored and rewarded employers that offer programs to improve their worker's health, productivity and quality of life. Blue Cross was recognized in the gold category for creating cultural and environmental changes that support employees who have made a commitment to long-term behavior changes. The other Minnesota health care companies to be recognized in the gold category were General Mills and Mayo Clinic.

"At Blue Cross, we are committed to helping our employees live life well and enjoy active, healthy lifestyles," Roger Kleppe, senior vice president, human resources and facilities, said. "It's a win-win situation. Our employees feel better if they are in the best possible health and Blue Cross wins as it seeks to reduce long-term costs for chronic illnesses and to reduce productivity losses associated with preventable absenteeism and disability."

Case in point: Blue Cross offers a rebate to employees who join at-work Weight Watchers and attend 90 percent of the on-site meetings. The money for the program was well spent -- in 2007 alone, employees enrolled in the program lost a total of 1,000 pounds.

In addition, Blue Cross also offers on-site fitness centers with fitness classes, running clubs, and brown bag lunches covering a variety of health and wellness topics. Employees also have access to programs such as discounts for working out at fitness centers and worksite wellness programs. Blue Cross' "Know Your Numbers" program helps employees understand four key measures of good health (blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and body mass index), and it is the first step in receiving a medical plan premium discount through the Blue Cross wellness incentive program.

"We are very pleased to honor Blue Cross for their innovation and commitment to providing lifestyle improvement programs designed to encourage healthier lifestyles for their employees," said Helen Darling, President of the NBGH. "Blue Cross and its management team should be proud of both their initiatives and ongoing support of helping employees to choose a healthier way of life."

Blue Cross was recognized in the silver category in 2006 for launching significant programs or services to promote a healthier lifestyle.

About Blue Cross

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota's first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. A nonprofit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.9 million members in Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by its affiliated companies. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago. Go to http://www.bluecrossmn.com to learn more about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.

About the National Business Group on Health

The National Business Group on Health is the nation's only non-profit, membership organization of large employers devoted exclusively to finding innovative and forward-thinking solutions to their most important health care and related benefits issues. The NBGH identifies and shares best practices in health benefits, disability, health and productivity, related paid time off and work/life balance issues. NBGH members provide health coverage for more than 50 million U.S. workers, retirees and their families. For more information about the NBGH, visit http://www.businessgrouphealth.org.


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SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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