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Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan's New Program to Address Health Through Education

Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan members can now open the door to higher education and improved career opportunities by earning a GED diploma, at no cost, through their health plan membership.

Blue Shield Promise is the first California health plan to collaborate with GED Testing Service to offer the GEDWorks program to its Medi-Cal members. Beginning this month, Blue Shield Promise members can register online for access to GED study materials in English and Spanish, and get online support with one-to-one tutoring, practice tests, and personal advisors, who serve as coaches and motivators to support students in earning their GED diploma, a measure of high school equivalency. The program also offers assistance with career and college planning, and most participants complete the course in four months.

"Lack of education is a barrier for many people trying to achieve economic, physical, and mental wellbeing," said Jennifer Schirmer, vice president of Blue Shield Promise.

"Removing that barrier can change lives. Education not only opens the door to employment opportunities, it gives people the tools to better understand how to be an active partner in their health. The combination of improved career prospects, self-confidence and health literacy has powerful effects on individuals, their families, and their communities."

GEDWorks is a resource for employers, health plans, and nonprofit organizations to sponsor their employees or members to earn their GED credential. Since 1942, the GED program has opened doors to better jobs and college programs for more than 21 million graduates.

"Earning a GED credential can change a learner's life trajectory, helping them develop their skills and confidence," said Vicki Greene, president of GED Testing Service and senior vice president of Pearson's Workforce Skills Division for the Americas. "Our GEDWorks program is designed to meet the unique needs of working adults who aspire to earn their GED credentials, and our results show that these participants are 39% more likely to earn their diplomas than students who study on their own."

To participate in the GEDWorks program, Blue Shield Promise members must be 18 years or older, must not have a high school diploma or equivalent, and must not be enrolled in high school. According to Greene, the average age of GEDWorks participants is 24 years old, though the program is open to all members who meet the required criteria.

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