This client wanted its employees to lead a healthier lifestyle. The company understood the high cost of unhealthy employees–from time off work to higher workers’ compensation claims–and that promoting good health was to its advantage. The company’s health insurance carrier has a program that reduces the health insurance premium when employees hit participation levels on the health insurance carrier’s wellness scale. The company believed the savings was a positive incentive to share with employees and reduced the individual employee’s monthly cost once the participation level was met.
The company enacted this program, which has been extremely successful: Each year, the health insurance wellness coach attends the open enrollment meeting to talk about how employees can achieve their wellness goals, and explain any changes in the program. Employees who have specific questions are able to talk with the coach one-on-one. An important point that is always stressed is that reaching wellness goals is not only about exercise; there are many different options available.
This employer pays 100 percent of the employee’s premium once the employee meets his or her wellness goal. Those who do not attain the wellness requirements pay $48.10 monthly for their health insurance. Employees are very motivated to make and maintain their wellness goals. The company has a culture of wellness based on the employee incentive and the wellness coach’s interaction.
Wellness = Lower Deductible
The employer provides a credit towards the employee’s deductible once the employee meets his or her wellness goal. Better yet, a portion of the unused deductible credit rolls over from year-to-year. This wellness incentive is embraced by the employees with high participation.
One of the biggest concerns of the company owner when developing this program was the issue of employee smoking. It is a well-proven fact that smoking is a cause of many serious diseases, including cancers. As a nation, 75 percent of the money spent on healthcare is induced by various preventable risk factors, and smoking is one of these factors.
Not only that, smoking can mean a lot of wasted time on the job. Employees might leave their work stations to smoke in a designated area, and while there, talk to other smokers, further extending the length of their “smoke breaks” before going back to work.
The company owner was frustrated with how much time his employees were using to smoke, and he wanted them to have some “skin” in the game. His solution was that smokers and nicotine users would pay 10 percent more for their health insurance than non-smokers. On the benefit enrollment form, there would be one price for non-tobacco users and another for tobacco users. Employees enroll according to their tobacco use.