Will County to launch incentive-laden employee health plan
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY firstname.lastname@example.org May 16, 2014 5:44PM
Diane Zigrossi | Supplied photo
Updated: June 23, 2014 12:09PM
With the belief that healthy workers are happy workers, Will County will roll out a new employee wellness program — Will Be Well — in June.
The program was included in the last collective-bargaining agreement for all union workers but will be extended to nonunion employees as well to help them achieve optimal health.
“There are obvious benefits to this,” said county board member Diane Zigrossi, D-Crest Hill, who chairs the insurance and personnel committee. “A healthy workforce is the true gist of it.”
There are educational, physical and financial benefits to be gained. Employees will become educated on their own health status and learn how to improve it. Having healthier employees also may result in fewer insurance claims.
There are financial incentives for those who participate.
“How many people could have high blood pressure and not know it? If you don’t get it checked, you will never know,” Zigrossi said. “A lot of this is education. If you are educated about your health, it will have an impact on insurance costs.”
On-site screenings will be done to check blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose levels and more. Employees and their spouses will be asked to complete a health risk questionnaire about their health history, to identify risks and provide feedback.
All testing is free and all information will remain confidential. Results will be sent to employees, who can indicate whether they want to have a physician receive a copy.
The county’s human resources department will not see individual results but will get general statistics, Zigrossi said.
Employees who do not participate in the screening or the questionnaire will pay an additional $50 per month for their insurance premiums. If their spouses — who are covered under the employee plan — do not participate, it will cost an additional $25 per month.
Those employees whose results are in a normal range will receive an incentive of $100 annually.
Those who have health concerns can earn that incentive by participating in health improvement programs for weight loss, smoking, disease management and fitness, to promote healthy eating and exercise.
“A lot of companies are going to this,” Zigrossi said. “I think it is a very good thing to do.”