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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

Winner: 2008 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Industry: Insurance
Location: Newark, N.J.
Website: www.horizonblue.com
2008 Rank: 33

Highlights of 2008 Winning Strategies

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Horizon Blue) has a “Journey to Health” program, which gives employees full health-risk assessments with incentives for participating. Employees enrolled in “Journey of Health” receive health counseling and education.

Responding to  feedback from the Employee Satisfaction Survey and the Total Rewards Employee Survey, Horizon Blue introduced the WELL program (Wellness in Employment Life and Learning). Well  offers numerous employee health benefits, including an on-site health center, pharmacy, concierge, on-site LabCorp facility, and an on-site fitness center.

Additional Policies and Practices:

Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Horizon Blue offers the following learning and development programs to its full- and part-time employees: tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, and certification classes. Tuition reimbursement is offered exclusively to employees working 15+ hours per week. In the past 12 months, 100 percent of Horizon Blue employees participated in at least one of the training opportunities, with an average of 30 hours spent in training.

Horizon Blue celebrates long-service anniversaries with announcements, parties, and awards. Employees gain experience and develop new skills by working on temporary assignments in other departments, on team projects, and on cross-divisional task forces.

As an example of Horizon Blue’s commitment to accommodating special-needs employees, a one Horizon Blue employee with multiple sclerosis was given the option of working from home. The company also revised her job requirements to meet her individual needs.

Benefits/Health: Full- and part-time employees working 20+ hours per week receive individual and family medical coverage, individual and family prescription-drug coverage, individual and family vision and dental insurance, individual and family long-term care insurance, and short- and long-term disability. Retirees under age 65 and 65+ receive individual and spousal medical and prescription-drug coverage, and individual life insurance or other death-benefit coverage. New hires are eligible for all of the above benefits upon retirement.

The company offers employees flexible-spending and health-savings accountsto help cover out-of-pocket health care costs.

Benefits/Financial: Horizon Blue offers a 401(k) plan with an employer match and a cash-balance plan to its full- and part-time employees. All new hires are automatically enrolled in the 401(k) plan, employees may invest in lifecycle funds, and employees 50+ can make catch-up contributions. Employees receive financial-planning information from the firm that administers their 401(k) plan.

The company offers short-term time off without pay and long-term leaves of absence without pay to allow for caregiving. The following wellness programs are offered to full- and part-time employees: flu shots, health screenings, health-risk appraisals, smoking-cessation programs, health club discounts, weight loss programs or counseling, and stress-management training. Sixty-five percent of Horizon Blue employees have used at least one of the company’s wellness benefits during the past 12 months.

The company offers the following dependent-care benefits to its full- and part-time employees, including: on-site child and grandchild care, referral services to assist with child care and eldercare, and backup care for children and for elders. Horizon Blue offers seminars on college placement, financial planning, and retirement planning.

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