Premera Blue Cross

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Premera Blue Cross Reviews

Updated Jul 17, 2014

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All Employees Current Employees Only

2.8 138 reviews

56% Approve of the CEO

Premera Blue Cross President, CEO, and Director Gubby Barlow

Gubby Barlow

(89 ratings)

44% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Good work-life balance in most parts of the organization (IT is a big exception)(in 23 reviews)

  • Some good benefits, nothing exceptional though(in 11 reviews)


Cons
  • Work/life balance does not exist in some parts of IT(in 8 reviews)

  • Upper Management does not pay attention when issues are brought to their attention(in 7 reviews)

138 Employee Reviews
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    • Culture & Values
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    Good leaders, challenging times

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsGreat benefits, good leadership, great company values with leaders following those values, nice opportunities, great work-life balance, many jobs are stable, many people are kind and easy to work with, nice environment

    Consconservative, slow to change and innovation, healthcare reform has many overworked and stressed, no work-out opportunities on site,

    Advice to Senior ManagementStop ratcheting the opportunity for increased pay. The review cycle and structure is confusing which is causing multiple goals vs focus on the overall more important goals. Support innovative ideas. Hire new people faster.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Why I love working here

    Senior ECommerce Product Manager (Current Employee) Mountlake Terrace, WA

    ProsEvery day, I look forward to coming to work. Any given day, there is a variety of interesting work to pick up or
    get involved in, and a fare amount of autonomy to make it happen. There are good, driven people working
    here, and people that really care about what they do and what they do for members and customers. I am
    lucky to work across many departments, from research, to sales and marketing, to biz dev, to product and
    innovation, to ops support, and most people are a pleasure to work with and very responsive. There is a
    range of jobs here, too, from actual doctors and nurses, to research marketers, to data analysts, to editors,
    to software developers and traditional ops/marketing jobs. I have seen (and perhaps dare I say, made)
    ideas happen here and get rapport, though I've also seen lab projects start and die. I actually feel like I can
    manage my "inbox" well here because we sit so closely with our teams, and everyone is a holler or an IM
    away for the most part; this isn't a case of a calendar overwhelmed with useless meetings as you are
    largely in charge of managing what you choose to partake in and where you feel needed. And maybe it's
    because of our proximity to tech, or because of some of our biggest customers being in tech, but Premera is
    actually quite a bit more web and mobile ready compared to many companies in its industry. I feel proud to
    work for Premera, and it's always met with respect when I mention it to my many counterparts in high tech. If
    you live and work in the Seattle area, you know Premera!
    It's also a job where you get to eat your own dogfood -- and it's helped me understand my own healthcare
    and benefit plans. I actually find myself able to better inform others about how it works and how to make
    better decisions about benefit coverage and healthcare, though there is still so much to learn and find out.
    And I do feel that it's had a positive impact on my wellness (minus the driving and being strapped in a car on
    an endless commute).
    Unique to eCommerce, we have changed our culture here a lot over the last couple years in trying to bring
    agile to development (moderately successfully) and to our roadmap planning. The greatest hurdles to
    overcome there have been working with 3rd parties that aren't on that type of cycle as well as internal project
    management / dependencies across departments. It's not unique to Premera and is largely a function of
    size, legacy, priorities, and the fact that this isn't really a tech company, and its projects are largely non-tech,
    so you're always competing for resources and attention. We've done a fair job with defining goals and
    targets, and we've been getting better at using metrics to drive decisions, but prioritization remains the
    greatest challenge, and hence generally large features take a while to roll out and frequently get cut out of
    scope to switch to more urgent maintenance asks or parallel competing priority. There just never seems to
    be enough developers to all the PMs and projects, and the UX budget is tiny, though it still always seems
    like Premera is hiring. There is some turnover we've seen over the past year from many team shifts and just
    the function of many contract workers. One great experiment I've seen go really well is bi-weekly demos we
    have started to showcase our work, and it's kept us accountable, diligent, as well as provided great visibility
    to internal stakeholders -- and it started out as a simple idea. So it's definitely possible to bring some
    positive change here.
    Broadly speaking, here are some other reasons to consider working here:
    -Stable industry & company -- goes without saying
    -Flexible hours for the most part though this is department specific. There is a normal expectation that you
    are here during core business hours and that you take responsibility for managing a balance between your
    work and personal needs.
    -Laptop and work phones for certain departments (probably based on job)
    -Great time off benefits
    -Modern layout, open concept space in eCommerce and plentiful whiteboarding space for creative people
    and analysts alike
    -Perks: club memberships, 10% off at the car dealerships down the street, discounts on cell phone plans,
    hotels that are in the Blues locations, zoo tickets
    -Attractive merit bonus opportunities
    -Generous pay is possible here although growth within a track may be limited
    -Love for Alaska and Northwest in general
    -Very nice walking trails on campus
    -Legal benefit gives you 25% off legal fees for (limited) network providers
    -Free EAP for life crisis or daily guidance -- think finances, taxes. They'll find you childcare and petcare
    options -- all for free. Like a personal concierge.
    -Great cafe with many choices including at least 1 vegetarian entree option, and a Starbucks right onsite and outdoor seating in the summer
    -Quarterly all-hands and department celebrations and one annual all-campus celebration
    -Frequent onsite screenings and mobile clinics
    -Nice size campus (4 main buildings) and close to a number of health facilities including Swedish campus
    down the street
    -Healthy perks and rewards for healthy lifestyle (not smoking, etc.), free bike rentals
    -Free medical insurance (no premium) if it's only you and you're healthy, reasonable dental, $400 towards
    glasses!
    -Very secure campus with 24 hour security, campus phones, badge in and out access, and you can ask for
    a lift around campus from security. Security and front desk folks are the nicest guys, and they know you by
    name. They also give you loaner badges and don't make a big deal out of it -- it's an easy process. And they
    reissue badges for free if you lose yours -- easy deactivation and reactivation process, right onsite and takes
    minutes.
    -Leadership training is available, and sometimes the entire department gets nice professional training right
    onsite that would cost $1000s to do individually. There are also online courses one can take as part of
    personal development
    -Paycheck, time off, performance management is all online and self-service -- no forms and no HR people
    to contact
    -Agile environment in certain departments, definitely see increasing innovation with introduction of more
    research departments
    -Responsive customer support, HR and benefit teams, and they actually take your feedback to improve their
    training content

    Cons-The commute is OK being that it's off 2 major highways (I-5 and SR-99) but it's still a hike from downtown.
    With some many employees living south, it'd be nice to see a downtown office
    -Parking is a competition if you plan to get to campus after 9 am (and many people on the IT side do)
    -Not very telecommuter friendly even though there are a number of telecommuters. VPN and telecommuter
    setup is possible by department exception but VPN is often spotty, conferencing options are dated and
    people often forget to call remote employees in
    -Facilities are cramped although open to improvements when you suggest them
    -In IT, you definitely have on call duty so do not assume your weekends or nights will be entirely work free
    -It's hard to actually leave campus to do "field research" so to speak if you are in sales & marketing. It's not
    really part of the job unless you carve it out
    -Many layers of separation between leadership and individual contributors. You have 0 visibility from your
    work unless you make it happen
    -Process bog-down -- yes, there are still some dinosaur policies and systems in place, so bringing
    transformation is in itself a transformative concept and a multi-year ambition
    -May be a rare company where PM contractors seem to have more power than full-time employees and
    relative immunity from performance/accountability

    Advice to Senior ManagementWith the exception of IT, leadership seems to pop out to talk to employees once a quarter and does not
    appear approachable. Many layers of information away, and it takes great coordination to figure out who
    should sit at the table for decisions and how to make a complex matrix project run. It takes longer to
    organize than the work itself sometimes.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    It's Better Than Unemployment

    Customer Service Representative (Former Employee) Mountlake Terrace, WA

    ProsSome nice people, team building activities off the phones during holidays, health benefits, discounted Orca Bus Pass, and training is over a month, however there is so much to learn this training only covers a fraction of what is needed to start in the position. .

    ConsMicro management from both superiors and over-whelmed call coaches, the move away from quality customer service, changing company policies regarding metrics, poor support from leadership, limited parking, expensive meal choices at café, lack of a gym on campus to match the healthy lifestyle they claim to support.

    Advice to Senior ManagementLook at the high turnover rate of employees as evidence, but the disconnect between quality customer service and getting through quick calls with 100% accuracy is a major issue.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
    • Culture & Values
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    2 people found this helpful  

    Many years across multiple positions and business fronts

    Multiple (Former Employee) Mountlake Terrace, WA

    Pros- Overall Company vision/goals is good (minus a few alarming news stories recently with the reform)
    - Mostly positive atmosphere and culture
    - Stable
    - Typically a lot of position openings to get into or move to
    - A lot of cool and fun coworkers
    - Good benefits
    - Good pay once you earn it, has consistent raises in salary

    ConsThese are in regards to their standard Operations department, as that is what I have the most experience with:
    - Middle Management really drags everything down within it's main core business operations
    - For being a "LEAN" company, there are so many shortcomings in working between departments, complete disconnect between teams that should have a stronger communication line and workflow. Spent years attempting to help fix these issues and nothing came of it. Leads to a lot of issues and headaches.
    - A lot of cliques, favoritism, and other general issues between team leads and management or regular representatives. Enough to where it's created many issues over the years.
    - This leads to undeserving or unqualified or just bad people getting team lead, or other advanced positions
    - This has led to a weak middle management based off of that, which is the ultimate downfall. Makes it frustrating to be a normal joe and having to be strategic in how you approach these people or handle your business to move/grow within the company.
    - Clear overall vision but completely unclear visions at lower levels. A lot of rash decisions without proper planning causing the rug to be pulled out from under you and the teams, creating havoc, work issues, etc, and then only to be undone a few weeks later because it was the wrong move. Once again a product of bad middle management.

    Advice to Senior ManagementJust need to get your things together. Solidify your vision on the lower level and execute. Too many politics and little groups which cause friction and bad overall management among the teams. Poor people have been moving up and given positions that they shouldn't have, causing really weak leadership and poor decisions. This is really the ultimate thing holding back Operations. Associates can be ignored and taken for granted, even though they really do have valuable insight in how things should be done. This causes bad goals, bad work focus, and unhappy associates. Needs to be an overall more consistent and unified focus, and healthier selection/attitude regarding the team leads, which in turn will make everything that much better.

    If that gets addressed, all of those cons would disappear, and would be a much better workplace and better performance on all levels. That's what's holding it back.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Good place if you stick it out

    Senior Internal Consultant (Current Employee) Mountlake Terrace, WA

    Proslots of job opportunities
    nice campus at MLT

    Constop heavy organization
    HR dept a mockery

    Advice to Senior Managementpromote and reward the talent in house

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Stuck in the past

    Analyst (Former Employee) Mountlake Terrace, WA

    ProsSome of the people are good people who do their jobs well and yet deserve so much more.
    Decent benefits
    If you want to be mediocre and get away with it, this is the place for you.
    If you want to work here for over a decade, get "grandfathered" in to some special work schedule where you can come in early and goof off and read 50 shades of grey and get coffee and stroll out earlier than others... this is the place for you!
    The temp of the building is pretty warm considering the workforce seems to be predominately older women.
    There is a cafeteria on site which is nice, but only because parking is at a premium after a certain time if you want to park on site.
    They relaxed the dress code to allow denim all week.

    ConsIf a VP/manager has a goal to make their bonus, that project supporting the goal is going to make it to the top priority. Dates to put said project into motion are not likely to move because that would mean the goal was not attained. This could mean working weekends several in a row.
    Not competitive pay (pay is well below the mid range for the grade), raises are a joke (2%). If you want a promotion, better get your chap stick and even then, don't count on it.
    Goals set are based on manager's perception of performance, if you look at a person funny once they will use that to rate you a 2 regardless of what other accomplishments. (2 is not good)
    Managers seem to be placed into their position of power with no clue how to lead people.
    Leave your personality at home.
    Management can play favorites, if they are aware of issues that one "bad egg" of an employee that are impacting morale of a team and performance/attendance of said employee, they will brush it under the rug and continue to play favorites. This can be used against you. Every team seems to have one of these bad eggs.
    Herd mentality. Don't have an opinion. This place does not want your change, your suggestions, ways to improve. This place has a lot of complacent workers/managers who are just biding their time until they retire. Don't come here if you want to rock the boat.

    Advice to Senior ManagementMake things fair. Stop favoritism. Listen to employees that want to make changes for the better. Consider the accomplishments of people and if they're doing their job and well. Upper management needs to take a good solid look at those who are in leadership positions with direct reports. Be aware of who does what and who is for example, working from home from another state yet doesn't log on. Promote people who deserve it, don't penalize people who come from other teams and need a hefty pay raise to get brought up to what the position pays... pay them what the job deserves not below the standard for the job for the same work as their peers.
    If you're going to have values that you expect employees to live by, you better live by them yourselves. You are not Excellent, you are mediocre. Yes you provide health insurance but you know behind the scenes it's a hot mess.
    Integrity - It's a nice thought but it's not always put into practice. I've seen the wrong thing done a lot. It drags the rest of the employees down to see what goes on.
    Teamwork - You should having employees suggestions become implemented. Don't do things just because you've always done them the same way, if you want to get ahead and be the best, you need to innovate and change. Don't bring in fresh blood thinking you want something new when you want to just stay stuck in your old ways...

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Review

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsNice folks to work with.

    ConsMgt doesn't walk their own talk.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Worked at Spokane office 10 months as a contractor, could not get hired. Seemed to be a political hiring policy....

    Enrollment Analyst (Former Employee) Spokane, WA

    ProsNice cafeteria, good security, and good working conditions. Great benefits if you can get hired.

    ConsIf you voice your opinion or dispute what you are told, it will affect your job down the line.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Changing Environment

    Business Analyst (Current Employee) Mountlake Terrace, WA

    ProsThe company is in a bit of positive upheaval due to the ACA. I'm taking a wait and see approach. The culture is positive and solid. Very people focused, and that goes for employees and customers alike.

    ConsInterdepartmental communication is poor. In house IT is the 500 pound gorilla here.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStrong leadership is needed to break down silly communication boundaries amongst departments. Accountability needs to go up.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Stagnant with little ability to grow

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Mountlake Terrace, WA

    ProsThe job is stable and the work/life balance is great in some areas. I've rarely had to work OT but there are some teams which have some high priority deliverables that have to work evenings. Most of the people are super friendly.

    ConsThere's little growth opportunity. It seems pretty easy to make lateral moves, but hard to make upward moves. Things move very slowly. I've learned to double and triple work estimates because of the slow pace and bureaucracy.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet rid of the bureaucratic committees and empower associates to do more things on their own and in their own way.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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