FirstCarolinaCare Wins Innovator Award
FirstCarolinaCare Insurance Co. Inc. received a 2008 Power of Prevention Award from the North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund.
The Power of Prevention Awards recognize individuals and organizations across North Carolina for their innovative leadership efforts to improve the health of North Carolinians. The award categories include advocacy/public policy, community catalyst, innovator, and leadership in obesity, tobacco use prevention and health disparities.
FirstCarolinaCare was presented the Innovator award, which recognizes a person or organization for designing and delivering a new and innovative approach to health promotion.
FirstCarolinaCare was nominated for the award on the basis of its development of FirstPlan, a health coverage product designed to help make coverage more affordable and accessible for the community. It also was cited for its programs to promote preventive health care and healthy lifestyles for members.
FirstPlan is a small group health benefit plan that offers premium incentives for employers based on certain criteria, as well as a premium subsidy for lower-wage employees. More than 2,000 employees and dependents have enrolled in FirstPlan since its introduction, including more than 500 previously uninsured individuals.
Ken Lewis, FirstCarolinaCare president, accepted the Innovator award during a special presentation ceremony on May 14 at the Carolina Club in Chapel Hill.
"It was an honor to accept the Innovator award on behalf of FirstCarolinaCare, our parent company, FirstHealth of the Carolinas, the physician community and the local businesses that were willing to try a new and untested concept," Lewis said. "Addressing the issue of the uninsured and the affordability of health care coverage for the employers and employees in small businesses is a team effort, and all parties made a contribution and a sacrifice to make this program flourish."
Also unique to FirstCarolina-Care is its practice of offering several customized services that are not typically available to small businesses, such as work-site health screenings, wellness incentive programs and chronic condition management.
These programs provide employers with the resources needed to create a healthier work force, which in turn creates a healthier community.
"I am fortunate to work for an organization whose mission is to care for people, and as such, has allowed FirstCarolinaCare to operate as an insurer with a unique focus," Lewis said. "We are ecstatic about the success of these programs and efforts in our community. It shows what a community can do when its goals are aligned."
FirstCarolinaCare, a wholly owned subsidiary of FirstHealth of the Carolinas, is headquartered in Pinehurst and serves more than 13,000 members in a six-county service area. It offers a range of small and large group health benefit plans.
More information on FirstPlan, or other health benefit plans offered by FirstCarolinaCare is available on its Web site at www.firstcarolinacare.com.
The Health and Wellness Trust Fund was created by the General Assembly as one of three entities to invest North Carolina's portion of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. It provides funding for programs and partnerships to address access, prevention, education and research that help all North Carolinians achieve better health.
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