Monday, December 27, 2010

Timing: Make Wellness a Business Priority By Implementing Wellness Programs to Improve Employee Health

Over the past year, employers across the state have become more committed to implementing easily adaptable, incentive-based, employee-driven wellness programs to improve employee health and office morale, and increase health insurance savings, among other things.

As an employer, have you considered offering incentives for employees who get or stay healthy? Monetary or other types of incentives are big motivators for employees who exercise regularly, eat healthfully or participate in stop smoking programs, for example. Wellness programs are also great ways to build teamwork within your organization. Further, having healthy employees can make a real impact on your bottom line.

Wellness research indicates that employer health promotion programs can be directly linked to improved productivity, less absenteeism, greater health knowledge, better health behaviors and a reduction in chronic health conditions. In fact, research shows that for every dollar invested in worksite health promotion, there is a medical cost savings of $3.48 and an absenteeism cost savings of as much as $5.82. Healthy employees offer companies a competitive advantage, with increased retention and lower medical costs.

Incorporating these efforts into your business and taking advantage of the benefits starts at the top. Senior executives must set an example, attend wellness functions and demonstrate involvement in other ways. The support of leadership demonstrates to employees that wellness is a high priority for your organization. It also helps to add a little incentive: consider giveaways for those that attend wellness functions and achieve stated goals, as even moderate incentives have been shown to greatly improve participation.

Encouraging employees to take part in a health assessment will help identify the most significant health issues for your organization, and enable you to develop long-range plans to address those issues. And, by setting attainable and measurable goals, it becomes enjoyable for employees to measure their success.

By using all available resources, your employees and your business may have a healthier 2011.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Timing: Make Wellness a Personal Priority By Taking Full Advantage of Health Insurance Benefits

In the next few weeks, you should be receiving information about your 2011 health insurance benefits. Many people are unaware that their health plans offer value-added benefits and other resources at no additional cost.

While enjoying the holiday season, take time to familiarize yourself with all of your benefits so come the New Year, you can begin getting the greatest value out of your health insurance policy.
  • Lower your prescription costs. Use generic or preferred brands. Or split tablets, if approved by your physicians, cutting your medication co-pay in half.
  • Use case manager assistance, if needed. Utilize your health plans specially trained nurses to guide you through troubling conditions, such as lower back pain, or more serious illnesses, such as cancer.
  • Activate check-up reminders. Make sure to schedule your check-ups and procedures such as mammograms, pap smears, vaccinations and annual physicals, utilizing your health plan’s Web site calendar feature such as the one on
  • Request electronic prescriptions. Ask for prescriptions to be delivered to pharmacies electronically and use electronic health records – both avoid errors and lead to safer outcomes.
  • Conduct a self-assessment of your health. Take your health plan’s online health self-assessments. These often provide interactive advice and coaching about how you can change your lifestyle to improve your health.
Maximizing your health benefits may help you improve the health of you and your family… and ensure you get the most for your healthcare dollar.