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Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina awarded CEO Cancer Gold StandardTM accreditation

July 29, 2010
Cary, NC

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) has received CEO Cancer Gold Standard™ accreditation, recognizing the organization’s commitment to reducing the risk of cancer for employees and their families by promoting healthy lifestyle choices, encouraging early detection through cancer screenings, and ensuring access to quality treatment.

William C. Weldon, chairman and chief executive officer of Johnson & Johnson, chairs the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, a nonprofit organization of cancer-fighting CEOs who created the CEO Cancer Gold Standard™, in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, many of its designated cancer centers, and leading health non-profit organizations and professionals.

“Our Gold Standard certification acknowledges the leadership of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina president and CEO Brad Wilson and the dedication of the entire organization to cancer prevention, which begins with building the health of its employees and family members and extends to strengthening the wellbeing of its members and the broader community,” said Weldon.

“It’s an honor for our company to be recognized for our leadership in supporting our employees to live healthy and longer lives,” said Wilson. “I am especially proud of the employees who work diligently to develop award-winning programs and initiatives to help prevent cancer among our employees.”

The CEO Cancer Gold Standard™ calls for companies to evaluate their health benefits and their corporate culture. To earn Gold Standard accreditation, a company must offer programs and foster a culture that will lower cancer risk. Specifically, they prohibit tobacco use at the workplace and provide support to help employees quit, along with offering programs that encourage physical activity and a healthy diet. Gold Standard employers also cover cancer screenings to increase the likelihood of detecting cancer at its earliest stages when outcomes are more likely to be favorable, and finally, they provide access to quality care.

Tobacco use is the number one cause of cancer and the number one cause of preventable death throughout the world. Knowing this, BCBSNC is completely tobacco-free (not just smoke-free) indoors and outdoors. The company also covers prescription tobacco-cessation medication, reimbursement for over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, and counseling for employees and their covered dependents who wish to quit. Additionally, BCBSNC offers tobacco-cessation initiatives in the workplace, such as onsite health coaching.

Employers are uniquely positioned to lead the fight against cancer and make a real difference in the health and wellbeing of their employees and their family members. The cost of cancer in the workplace is extraordinarily high considering the direct medical costs, lost productivity, disability claims and the tremendous personal toll the disease takes on individuals, families and coworkers. However, a report earlier this year in the journal, Health Affairs, noted that employer medical costs fall by about $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs and that absenteeism costs fall by about $2.73 for every dollar spent.

BCBSNC becomes the second Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association licensee to become Gold Standard accredited, joining Independence Blue Cross of Philadelphia. Today, more than one and a quarter million employees and family members are benefiting from the vision and leadership of employers who have chosen to become Gold Standard accredited. CEO Cancer Gold Standard accreditation is awarded to organizations that demonstrate an exceptional, comprehensive commitment to fighting cancer by focusing on risk reduction, early detection and quality care. While the focus of the Gold Standard is cancer, the benefits of encouraging healthy lifestyle choices extend to other serious and expensive chronic conditions and diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The Gold Standard sends an important message to employees: “We are investing in your health because we care about you”.

About BCBSNC Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.7 million members, including approximately 900,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 77 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit BCBSNC online at