CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Here’s a healthy statistic: New research shows that for every dollar spent on worksite health and wellness, companies can experience a savings return of from three to 15 times that amount within 18 months of starting a program.

That’s why BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is teaming with its insured group customers to create an at-work culture of health and wellness – with better health and lower costs as the overall goals.

“It’s a win-win for everyone,” said Renee Queen, manager of health promotion and education for BlueCross. “When a company’s employees are more knowledgeable about their health and focused on making improvements and better lifestyle choices, it shows. As their health improves, so does a company’s bottom line, with reduced medical and prescription claims over time and greater on-the-job productivity.”

As part of its Well+Wise approach to member health and wellness, BlueCross now provides onsite wellness events and activities that educate and engage employees in making better health decisions. The onsite health events combine multiple health support components -- such as health risk assessments, biometric screenings and health coaching – and deliver them in an effective and innovative way to support member and customer needs.

“Our worksite wellness programs greatly expand the opportunity to impact costs for our employer groups,” said Queen. “It’s a high-focus opportunity to engage and educate employees in a way that maximizes touchpoint opportunities for the future. It’s also a convenient, personalized experience for members -- one that creates an immediate continuity of education and health support.”

For example, at an onsite BlueCross wellness event, an employee who discovers through the biometric health screening that he has high blood pressure can talk immediately with an onsite health coach about his next steps. Likewise, a woman whose health risk assessment confirms tobacco use can meet with an onsite coach for support to stop smoking. Coaches are all trained health care professionals, such as nurses, dietitians and respiratory therapists, and are available 24/7/365 for ongoing support after the onsite events. All screening results, biometric measures and coaching discussions are confidential.

To further encourage and reward customers for supporting effective workplace wellness initiatives, BlueCross is building a new well workplace certification. The designation recognizes the commitment of customer groups to establish a working culture of health and follow through with efforts that produce results. As a partner in that commitment, BlueCross provides a full array of wellness resources and support, including walking programs, lunch and learn sessions, preventive health reminders, employee communication campaign materials, and incentive reward programs. The certification program is currently being piloted by two customer groups, with outcomes to help determine future value-based components such as premium discounts.

Both of the companies are already showing results, only five months into the pilot.

“When you look at the numbers, preventable illness is responsible for ninety percent of health care costs,” Queen said. “Yet only five percent of health care spending goes toward preventive health and wellness – and we want to rebalance that number.

“What we’re seeing with onsite wellness is the opportunity to make an important impact in the two key areas customers care about most,” Queen explained, “the health of their employees and of their own bottom line. The commitment to health and wellness pays back at each level.”

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.