Anthem, Inc. is one of the largest leading health benefits companies in the United States after the merger with WellPoint Health Networks, Inc. Anthem companies deliver a number of health benefit plans through a wide arrange of integrated health care plans and related services, along with several specialty products like life and disability insurance benefits, dental, vision, behavioral health benefit services, long term care insurance and flexible spending accounts (i.e. Health Savings Accounts (HSA)). Anthem also employs approximately 57,000 full and part time employees.
Not only does Anthem service over 74 million customers, that they also offer several benefits and rewards to its employees. Out of the many benefits and rewards that Anthem offers its employees, the ones I would like to discuss are: education assistance, flexible work schedule and support for parents.
Anthem prides itself on investing in its employees’ career advancements. Anthem offers education assistance to all active full time and part time employees working at least 20 hours per week.
The criteria, however, is the employee must have worked with Anthem for a minimum of six months of continuous service; must have a performance rating of a 2 or above or “Meets Expectations” and not on written warning; must attend an accredited institution and must be towards the completion of a degree. The degree must be related to the current or potential job roles in the company. The degree must also be a two and four-year undergraduate degree as well as master’s and doctorate degrees. Anthem will reimburse 100% of eligible expenses up to $5,000 for full time employees and up to $2,500 for part time employees per calendar year.
Associates must have a grade of C or above or “pass” to receive the reimbursement. There are some fees, however, that are not covered like Meals, lodging, transportation, etc. Anthem started to see a shift in the demographics of its associates with the average age of an associate, the average tenure, and the number of associates that work from home. They also found that a number of the employees lack the skills necessary for promotion like critical thinking, writing, analytics and other soft skills. Anthem teamed up with College for America at Southern New Hampshire University to start workplace-applicable associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs. The tuition is only $3,000 per year so the employees can earn an associate’s and/or bachelor’s degree at no cost and much faster.
As of October 2015, several associates enrolled, but only 18 Anthem students graduated. Associates have said how relevant the learning is to their everyday jobs. They learn problem –solving and communication skills that are applicable to their work. Several employees had received promotions after completing the degree program. Several positive testimonies state that after completing the program, they felt confident, had a passion to learn, achieve the goal of obtaining a degree, and felt they were now strong candidates for advancement in the company. Anthem also offers flexible work schedules. They want to help associates balance work and personal life. The flexible schedule must meet not only the associate’s needs, but the needs of the company and customer as well. Some of those flexibilities include: Work-from-home, job share, part time and phased retirement. Work-from-home has many benefits. Eliminates commuting, offers more flexibility in work hours and the convenience of working at home.
Associates must have a quiet workspace where there are no interruptions and private information is protected and not seen or overheard by others in the home. Many employees who work from home are enjoying this benefit. I am one of those associates that work from home and I and the associates I work with love working from home and do not ever want to go back to working in the office. The entire Youngstown office is work-from-home. Because of this, many of the associates in the customer service department stay in that department. There is not a high turn-around in that department as opposed to the Mason, Ohio office where the customer service representatives work in the office and there is a high turn-around because they either quit or they are promoted after a year in the department.
The job share program splits the work schedule with another associate. This requires moving to part-time employment. There are three ways this can be done: both work three days each with one overlapping day, one works two or three days and partner works the other day with no overlap, or both work five days, half days each. Pay is reduced and depending on hours worked, benefits may change. (Anthem Portal) There is working a part-time schedule. This can be combined with job sharing or work-at-home. There are two part-time categories: Regular (20-32 hours per week) and non-regular (fewer than 20 hours per week). The pay is based on the hourly rate and based on hours worked, will depend on the benefit coverages.
The phased retirement program is for those who are approaching retirement and have an interest in reducing hours. The hours can be reduced to part-time hours below 33 hours per week and remain eligible to receive part-time benefits. Service will also continue to count towards retirement benefits. Working less than 20 hours per week is not eligible for health, dental, vision, life insurance and short & long term disability benefits. Associates are also eligible for rehire after retirement. (Anthem Portal) Finally, Anthem offers support for parents. That supports includes adoption and surrogacy assistance and new parent transition week.
With the adoption and surrogacy assistance program, Anthem reimburses a maximum of $10,000 per child for active full-time associates and a maximum of $5,000 per child for active part-time associates. Just like the education assistance, the associate must have been employed for a minimum of six months. An eligible child is under 18 years of age and is physically or mentally incapable of caring for oneself. For surrogacy, paperwork that shows the legal surrogacy arrangement has been executed is required (Anthem Portal) The new parent transition week program offers associates (male & female) help transitioning back to work after being off on leave. This also pertains to adoptive parents. Anthem offers a full week of pay for half the time worked during the first week back at work. Eligibility requirements are the same as education assistance and flexible schedule programs. (Anthem Portal)