'; if(pArray.length >= 4) { i=2; } else if(pArray.length >= 3) { i=2; inline = ''; } else if(pArray.length >= 2) { i=1; inline = ''; } else if(pArray.length === 1) { i=0; inline = ''; } $('#librarydrawer_story_container script').each(function() { $(this).remove(); }); $(pArray[pArray.length - 1]).after(subscribeBox); $(pArray[i]).after(inline).after($('#librarydrawer_story_container')); $('#text-story').focus(function() { if ($(this).val() == 'EMAIL ADDRESS') { $(this).css({color: '#000000', backgroundColor: '#ffffff'}); $(this).val(''); } }); $('#text-story').blur(function() { var trim = $(this).val().replace(/[\s]/g, ''); if(trim === '') { $(this).val('EMAIL ADDRESS'); $(this).css({color: '#666666', backgroundColor: '#f8f8f8', border: '#666666 1px solid'}); } }); $('.content-subscribe .btn-submit').click(function() { var val = $('.content-subscribe .text').val(); if(val.search(/[a-z0-9!#$%&'*+\/=?^_`{|}~-]+(?:\.[a-z0-9!#$%&'*+\/=?^_`{|}~-]+)*@(?:[a-z0-9](?:[a-z0-9-]*[a-z0-9])?\.)+[a-z0-9](?:[a-z0-9-]*[a-z0-9])?/gi) === -1) { $('.content-subscribe .text').css('border', '#ff6600 1px solid'); $('.content-subscribe .text').focus(); return false; } return true; }); }); //-->

Anthem expands college reimbursement program

HR chief Jose Tomas: "Our goal is to keep enhancing the skills of our associates so we can help them grow and develop their careers"

Anthem has expanded a pilot program that pays for some of its employees to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree from Southern New Hampshire University, an online college, according to Bloomberg Business.

Promoting from within is less expensive than recruiting and training new workers. But more than half of the insurer's 55,000 employees aren't college educated. 

"Our goal is to keep enhancing the skills of our associates so we can help them grow and develop their careers," Jose Tomas, Anthem's executive vice president and chief human resources officer, told Bloomberg.

The benefit is available to employees who work at least 20 hours a week and have at least six months with the company. Anthem is only the third U.S. company to offer such a program, along with Starbucks and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. 

The drawback, however, is that Anthem can't guarantee that participants won't drop out of college or prevent employees from leaving for another company once they complete their education, the article noted.

But Tony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, believes that Anthem and other companies understand the risks of education reimbursement programs.

It's a way to "compete for a large pool of front-facing workers to go above and beyond and to attract the cream of the crop," Carnevale told Bloomberg.

With similar goals but a different strategy, Aetna in April increased the incomes of its lowest-paid employees by as much as 33 percent, to a minimum of $16 an hour, FierceHealthPayer previously reported. Both Aetna and Anthem's actions clearly demonstrate the companies consider their employees assets and treat them accordingly.

To learn more:
- read the Bloomberg Business article

Related Articles:
How Aetna's decision to raise minimum wages reflects insurer's strategic focus
Aetna CEO on decision to raise minimum pay rates
Will Aetna be nabbing all the good employees with pay increase?
Embracing healthcare change: Find your inner 4-year-old