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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Reveals Six Municipal Blue Innovation Award Recipients

CONTACT: Jenna McPhee
(617) 246-4712

Municipalities Recognized for Cost Saving and Wellness Initiatives Amounting to $1.7 Million

BOSTON — March 24, 2010 — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) today announced the winners of the annual Municipal Blue Innovation Awards. The awards recognize municipalities for successfully implementing initiatives to reduce health care costs and improve employee health and wellness. Approximately $1.7 million was collectively saved by City of Peabody and Town of Arlington alone.

John Coughlin, Vice President of Select Markets at BCBSMA, presented the awards along with a $5,000 wellness grant to:

Arlington and Peabody were selected as the Plan Design and Wellness Champions of the awards. Union workers and town leaders in Arlington collaborated on health plan changes resulting in a two-year savings of more than $700,000 for employees and taxpayers, and Peabody saved the city over $1 million. Both are also embracing a culture of wellness with firefighters from each town/city participating in Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts' "Firefighter Fitness Challenge," a competition between fire departments in seven Massachusetts cities and towns to promote better health through diet and exercise.

"Municipalities need creative ways to reduce health care costs in this challenging economic environment," said Coughlin. "We applaud the six recipients for their achievements and hope other communities and businesses will be inspired by their success."

A review of 56 published studies of worksite health promotion programs by the Washington-based Partnership for Prevention, found wellness programs produced an average savings-to-cost ratio of $5.81 to $1. The programs also reduced annual health costs by an average of 26 percent, absenteeism by 27 percent, and workers compensation and disability claim costs by 32 percent.1

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts ( ) was founded 73 years ago by a group of community-minded business leaders. Today, headquartered in Boston, BCBSMA provides coverage to more than 3 million members, 2.5 million in Massachusetts. BCBSMA believes in rewarding doctors and hospitals for delivering safe and effective care, and in empowering patients to take more responsibility, become educated health care consumers and become stronger partners with their doctors. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

1 Workforce Management, "Employer Data Quantifies the Value of Wellness Programs," April 2008

Contributed Quotes from State Representatives:

"I am very proud of the steps Peabody has taken to lower their health care costs and promote the health and wellness of their employees," said State Representative Joyce Spiliotis of Peabody. "I look forward to seeing continued positive results and congratulate the city on this award."

"I'm very pleased with Arlington's progress on wellness," said State Representative William Brownsberger who represents Arlington. "I am also pleased that Blue Cross is taking the time to recognize and encourage that wellness progress. Wellness is what matters to us; health insurance and health care are only means to that end."

"The City of Beverly is to be commended for establishing these programs to support their employees' good health," said State Representative Mary E. Grant of Beverly.

"I want to thank the cities of Beverly and Peabody for their commitment to improving employee health and wellness," said State Senator Frederick E. Berry. "This $5,000 wellness grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts will allow both cities to continue this effort, ultimately reducing annual health care costs for both municipalities."



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