; National Award Names Excellus BCBS “Healthiest Company”
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Press Release

National Award Names Excellus BCBS “Healthiest Company”

Its wellness program now available to local employers

February 23, 2012

ROCHESTER - Excellus BlueCross BlueShield was named among the “Healthiest Companies in America” today after its wellness program successfully helped hundreds of its employees improve their health.

Excellus BCBS and some of its affiliates were among the 70 companies to earn the honor from Interactive Health Solutions Inc. (IHS), the leading provider of employee health management programs. The health insurer worked with IHS to screen thousands of employees in 2010 and 2011 to determine their risk for serious health problems. Employees received confidential results about their blood pressure, cholesterol and other health measures and were encouraged to work with their personal physicians to improve their health.

Based on employees improving their health from one screening to the other and lowering the company’s overall risk, Excellus BCBS was eligible for the IHS award for the first time in 2012.

Given its success with the program, Excellus BCBS has started to offer a similar program to employers called “Blue4U.”

“We wanted to ‘eat our own cooking’ before selling such a health and wellness product to our customers,” said Todd Muscatello, vice president of sales for Excellus BCBS. “We learned that successful wellness programs can improve employee health and possibly save lives. Earning the national award and recognition for our own ‘cooking’ is like adding a cherry on top of — well, I guess we’d have to say a fruit cup since we’re promoting wellness habits.”

The road to Blue4U

Employees voluntarily participated in health screenings in late 2010 and 2011 and received their own data on a variety of health measures and conditions.

Employees were educated on what their blood pressure and cholesterol levels should be. In addition to working with their own physicians, they could take advantage of IHS’s health coaching to reduce their risk of developing certain chronic diseases and to make lasting healthy changes.

“Three of four employees screened in 2011 were at a low risk of developing a serious health problem, but the screenings did identify some people at risk for chronic conditions,” said Carl Devore, M.D., associate medical director and manager, dental review, Excellus BCBS. “Some employees needed immediate medical attention, and many were unaware that they had a medical condition such as high cholesterol or a condition called metabolic syndrome that increased their risk for diabetes, stroke and heart disease.”

Results from the 2011 screening include: 

  • About 500 employees who were encouraged to lower their bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in the 2010 screening had done just that by the 2011 screening.
  • Almost 300 employees who were advised to lower their glucose levels in 2010 had met that goal by 2011.
  • More than 400 employees who had high triglyceride levels in 2010 had lowered them by 2011.
  • About 3,400 employees, or 83 percent of eligible workers, participated in the 2011 screening.

Healthiest Companies in America

IHS gave the “Healthiest Companies in America” award to companies that outperformed other clients. IHS works with more than 1,400 employers with more than 1 million employees nationwide.

The winners of the award had created a culture of wellness and widespread employee participation in pro-active health and wellness initiatives. Companies were judged on their health care data with clinical information showing improved employee wellness across an index of key indicators.

“We know that wellness programs hold many benefits for employees and employers, such as increasing productivity and potentially reducing long-term health care costs,” Devore said. “But the most gratifying aspects of the program were the countless stories from employees that the screening was the catalyst they needed to improve their health.”

About Excellus BlueCross BlueShield 
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit excellusbcbs.com.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 105 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.