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New focus on wellness planscomment (0)

August 1, 2013

Employers offering programs and incentives to employees to stay healthy is not a new concept, but the Affordable Care Act promotes implementing such a strategy. And many acknowledge savings in their insurance premiums when they do.

Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries started a wellness program more than five years ago that encourages employees to plan a personal wellness program. 

As activities are completed, the employee can be reimbursed for certain expenses, such as gym memberships, running shoes and race entry fees, up to an individual limit. In order to be reimbursed, documentation must be provided that the employee is following his or her plan. 

The program has also provided employees with opportunities to learn more about healthy diet and exercise choices from experts in those areas. 

Birmingham’s Baptist Health System has been focused on wellness for its 4,300 employees for four years.

“We are strong believers in preventation and wellness,” said Shane Spees, BHS president and chief executive officer. “We’ve been on a journey of preventative care and wellness as an employer where we’ve redesigned our health benefits for employees and dependents. We want them to take advantage of wellness services that are offered.” 

BHS’ Working on Wellness (WOW) program starts with basic health screenings to help employees assess their overall health. Employees with one or more chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, are eligible to work with a health coach free of charge. More than half of the 600 eligible candidates are using the health coach service.

“We are arming our employees with resources to better care for themselves,” Spees said. “In turn, we are spending less on health care.”

For wellness program ideas, visit www.guidestoneinsurance.org/wellness.


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