CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee received three national communications awards for its open enrollment campaign, “Creating a Culture of Wellness at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.”

BlueCross was honored for its internal program to communicate significant changes to its 2009 employee health plans for the company’s approximately 5,400 staff and 500 eligible retirees. The program focused on higher levels of wellness and personal health accountability, calling on employees to embrace a Culture of Wellness for 2009 and offered substantial incentives for doing so.

The campaign received:

• The 2009 Gold Quill Award for excellence in employee/member communication, presented by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC);

• The 2009 Silver Anvil for excellence in internal communications, presented by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA); and

• The 2009 Best of Blue award for excellence in open enrollment communications, presented by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

An internal communications team, working in tandem with external public relations firm KVBPR, developed the integrated campaign that included interactive electronic brochures, postings on the corporate intranet site and BlueCross’ external Web site, a customized open enrollment site, and a senior management communications campaign including e-mail reminders, messages and presentation development.

“BlueCross wanted its employee health benefits options to better reflect the product and wellness offerings customers were seeking, resulting in a significant change from previous enrollment options,” said Kip Soteres, manager of employee communications at BlueCross. “A tremendous amount of effort went into our Culture of Wellness campaign to ensure our employees had all the information they needed to understand the new plan options and make good choices for themselves and their families. It is very fulfilling to see it recognized in this way.”

Recent media coverage of the new transition to corporate wellness programs shows that improving workers’ health can reduce costs associated with absenteeism and workers’ compensation. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 50 percent of health issues and costs are driven by personal habits such as smoking and are preventable. The benefits of better employee health go beyond the direct cost of claims and extend to fewer sick days, higher on-the-job productivity and higher overall job satisfaction.

In total, BlueCross’ campaign resulted in attracting 26 percent of employees to a health savings account option and securing 78 percent employee participation in wellness initiatives, such as gym memberships and weight loss programs.

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.