CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association recently recognized BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee with first and second place honors in the 2005 “Best of Blue” Marketing and Communications Awards national competition. Best of Blue programs are evaluated for importance to the health care system, potential applicability in other communities and level of innovation.

The Tennessee Plan took top honors in the internal communications category for its corporate mentoring program and earned a second-place honor in the health care cost campaign group.

“We’re pleased that our work has been honored. We’re even more satisfied to know that our efforts to inform and engage people about health care issues have had positive impacts,” said Bill Steverson, director of public affairs for BlueCross.

Recognized as the best employee communications campaign, the corporate mentoring program helped BlueCross attain an 80 percent agreement among employees who said the culture of the organization values workplace diversity. In addition, the mentoring program and other diversity initiatives helped decrease the minority turnover rate by 11.8 percent.

According to Ron Harris, manager of workforce diversity for BlueCross, the mentoring program helped develop diverse talent for future leadership of the company.

“We know that to best respond to our customers’ needs, our workforce must reflect the population we serve,” said Harris. “Our award-winning mentoring efforts will continue for many years to positively impact our company and, in turn, Tennesseans.”

Tennesseans also benefited from BlueCross’ award-winning Your Choice health care cost awareness campaign. Your Choice was created to help businesses and their employees better manage their overall medical spending.

The program took aggressive steps to reach more than 10,000 group employers and their employees with a comprehensive, easy-to-use series of messages that educated them on the cost and impact of everyday health care choices.

Coupled with other affordability campaign efforts, the Your Choice program helped create health plan savings of more than $35 million and supported efforts to slow medical trend and reduce utilization.

A record 182 entries from 35 Blue plans were entered into this year’s Best of Blue Awards competition. An external judging panel of communication and marketing professionals selected the winning entries. This was the 9th annual award program sponsored by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.