For Sixth Straight Year, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Earned Top Employee Wellness Award

WILKES-BARRE – For the sixth consecutive year, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield (formerly Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA) was awarded one of the American Heart Association's (AHA) top honors for employers, the Start! Fit Friendly Company Gold Award for workplace wellness activities in 2014.

Last month, BCNEPA merged with Highmark Inc. and continues to serve northeastern and north central Pennsylvania as Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.

"We are very proud to once again be recognized as a fit friendly company by the AHA," said Brian Rinker, senior vice president, Highmark NEPA Region. "Now that we are part of Highmark Inc., our company will continue to focus on the wellness of employees — our most valuable asset — just as we will maintain our commitment to the health of our community."

The Gold designation recognized BCNEPA for its support of employees' wellness through the encouragement of physical activity, promotion of healthy eating options and availability of constant education and incentives around healthy lifestyle choices.

BCNEPA was also recognized with the Worksite Innovation Award for its E.A.S.E. (Education, Action, and Support for all Employees) program in 2014. Out of approximately 2,700 applications approved by the AHA from companies across the nation seeking Gold or Platinum status, BCNEPA was one of only 36 companies to earn this award nationwide.

The E.A.S.E. program was designed to help employees better manage stress in the workplace. Topics of the program included understanding stress, reacting to stress, work/life balance and eating tips for managing stress. According to post-program surveys, more than 90 percent of employees who participated found the E.A.S.E. program to be beneficial for dealing with workplace stress.

The AHA's Fit Friendly program addresses the growing concern of physical inactivity and its health consequences. To advance this objective, the Fit Friendly program recognizes companies that are championing the health of their employees by creating a culture of "workplace wellness."

Highmark Inc. has received recognition for its employee wellness efforts as well.

In April of this year, the company was honored with the AHA's Fit Friendly Award and Worksite Innovation Award for focusing on management support of health and wellness via the Health Tools program. Health Tools are customized and convenient wellness programs designed to meet specific departmental needs within the company.

This marked the third straight year Highmark Inc. earned a Fit Friendly Award for its commitment to creating a workplace that emphasizes healthy lifestyles through access to a company fitness center, wellness coaching and other programs designed to lower health risks.

About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield serves approximately 3.2 million members through the company’s health care benefits business and employs more than 4,700 people in western and northeastern Pennsylvania. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information, visit

About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 35 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Indexsm. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube and follow us on Twitter.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 35 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.