eNewsChannels: employee benefitsWALTHAM, Mass. /eNewsChannels/ — NEWS: The New England Employee Benefits Council (NEEBC) today announced that it has awarded five companies with Best Practices awards at its Best Practices Conference “Employers at the Head of the Class.” The awards were presented to companies that best exhibit innovation and creativity in the planning and delivery of their employee benefit programs.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Boston-based academic medical center, created a streamlined program for administering requests for leaves of absence that improved communications, reduced the turnaround time for requests and saved money. Biogen Idec, a Weston, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company, developed a robust commuter benefits program to attract top talent to its growing headquarters.

CIRCOR International, a Burlington, Massachusetts-based global manufacturer, established a comprehensive approach to health risk management that has provided a positive ROI. Lifespan, a Rhode Island-based academic health system, implemented an outcomes-based benefit plan, “Lifespan Healthy Rewards,” which requires a health outcome (weight loss) not just participation for employees to receive incentives. The unique program focuses on proper care coordination to reduce obesity and smoking.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a Woods Hole, Massachusetts-based nonprofit research and higher education facility, successfully transitioned from an employer-based retirement benefit to an employee driven retirement benefit, including employee buy in, education, communication and vendor support.

A new awards category “Lifetime Achievement in Benefits Innovation” was presented to EMC for its use of data analytics to create a high tech and high touch approach that engages employees and their families by providing ways to manage their health with meaningful data and insight. The decade long benefits strategy has resulted in more than $300 million in health care cost avoidance for the company.

Separately, Willis of Massachusetts was named the Best Organization for Emerging Benefits Professionals by NEEBC’s Next Generation Advisory Council. Willis’ unique approach to developing emerging employee benefit professionals includes two key components: a two-year Risk Management Analyst program for recent college graduates and a mentoring program that provides structured professional development.

The full-day Best Practices Conference featured keynote speaker Jim Braude, Emmy(R) award winning journalist and broadcaster for WGBH and NECN, who addressed the media’s responsibility for providing fair and balanced coverage on health care reform. Dolores Mitchell, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission (GIC), kicked off a lively discussion about moving health care providers from fee for service payment models to global budgets.

About The New England Employee Benefits Council:

NEEBC is a Waltham, Mass. nonprofit that advances knowledge and education in employee benefits. NEEBC’s 1,250 members manage benefits for an estimated 2.5 million employees. Members include employers and providers of benefits consulting and services throughout New England. NEEBC’s monthly educational programs feature presentations by guest speakers on topics of interest to the benefits community. Members have the opportunity to discuss ideas, become informed about new developments in the field and network with peers.

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