Thursday, June 12, 2008

State Wellness Programs Challenge the Private Sector

Citing rising health care costs and alarming health statistics, several states have implemented wellness programs in hope that the private sector will follow. Most state programs vary in size and strategy but generally fall into the following categories:
  • Programs offering health assessments and monitoring
  • Health insurance incentives with financial rewards for healthy behaviors
  • Healthy work environment initiatives
  • Fitness challenges and events

For example North Carolina offers HealthSmart's a personal health portal where employees can take a personal health assessment and receive a personal plan of action; explore conditions centers like back pain, diabetes, and learn about lifestyle programs such as nutrition and fitness

In Arkansas, Governor Huckabee has created a financial incentive for state employees to lead a healthy lifestyle through regular health screenings, reduced tobacco use, increased physical activity during work, and improved nutrition. State employees receive a $20/per month reduction in insurance premiums if they take part in a voluntary health risk survey. During the first months of the state employee self assessment, 18,000 employees and 4,000 employee spouses took the assessment! The state is gathering baseline data on citizen health to measure progress and challenges. The state also offers a Work site Wellness Guide and Tool Kit for useful tools and ideas for your Work site Wellness program.

I will be posting more state program links in the next few blogs. If a government agency can actually implement a program and see measurable results, there is no doubt a smaller company can produce healthier employees.

No comments: