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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Winner: 2009 Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Winning Years:  2009, 2008
Industry:  Insurance
Location: Durham, N.C.

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies

This is the second year that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina makes AARP's list of Best Employers for Workers Over 50. More than one-fifth of the company's employees (22 percent) are age 50 or older, and their average tenure in the company is 12 years.

Blue Cross Blue Shield N.C. rehires retirees in temporary, full-, and part-time positions. Retirees below and above age 65 receive individual and spousal medical, prescription-drug, vision, and dental coverage, and individual life insurance. The company has its own university and reimburses employees for tuition, books, and fees.

The company also provides information and resources to support employees who care for their aging parents and to financially prepare employees for retirement.

Workplace Culture and Continued Opportunities: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina offers its full- and part-time employees who work at least 20 hours per week several training-related opportunities, including tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, and certification classes. All employees have participated in at least one of the company's training opportunities in the past 12 months.

The company also offers on-site undergraduate and graduate degrees through its corporate school, Blue University. Tuition, fees, and books are all reimbursed to the employee.

Blue XChange is the company's in-house mentoring program, and it provides coaching and training opportunities to employees.

The company celebrates employees' long-service anniversaries with announcements and parties.

During the past three years, as a result of surveying its employees' opinions, the company has made improvements to its 401(k) plan. Blue Cross Blue Shield N.C. has included an employer match and has added seminars to help employees support their aging parents while maintaining financial security.

The company offers opportunities for employees to gain new experiences and job skills through temporary assignments in other departments, team projects, and access to formal job-rotation programs. The company also has a Management Association Program to help employees develop leadership and management skills.

Blue Cross Blue Shield N.C. has made accommodations in the workplace for employees with medical or physical needs or disabilities, including providing appropriate technical equipment and alternative-work schedules.

Benefits/Health: Full- and part-time employees who work 20 hours or more per week are eligible to receive individual and family medical, prescription-drug, vision, dental, and short- and long-term disability coverage. To help cover their out-of-pocket costs, the company offers employees health savings accounts (HSA) and health flexible spending accounts (FSA). Retirees below and above age 65 receive individual and spousal medical, prescription-drug, vision, and dental coverage and individual life insurance. Upon retirement, new hires are eligible to receive all the company's health benefits for retirees.

Benefits/Financial: Blue Cross Blue Shield N.C. offers full- and part-time employees who work 20 hours or more per week an employer-matched 401(k) plan. The company automatically enrolls all employees and new hires in the plan. Employees may choose to invest in life-cycle funds based on age and proximity to retirement, and workers age 50+ can make catch-up contributions. Staff from the financial services firm that administers the employee savings plans and other external experts provide financial planning information and training to employees through workshops, one-on-one counseling, webinars, and Web sites.

Employees can take paid leave specifically designed for caregiving and may also take unpaid short- or long-term leaves of absence to attend to caregiving responsibilities. … Back to Article

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