Innovation is key to wellness program success


Thinking outside of the box has helped two wellness programs achieve success, including lowering claims costs and helping participants lose weight.

Humana's Vitality program, which the Kenosha County in Wisconsin is implementing for its employees, saves almost $450,000 in claims costs each year, reported Kenosha News.

The county has 721 employees participating in the wellness program, which uses an online assessment to assign a "vitality age" based on several health factors and habits. They can then work toward their specific goals using provided tips.

Employees can lower their premium costs by earning points for achieving wellness goals, including performing physical activities, eating healthy and attending educational programs. Participating employees also can earn points that allow them to shop online.

Although Kenosha County's wellness program is still in the early stages, its employees have already boosted their overall health and wellbeing. "There seems to be evidence to support the wellness program is having its intended effect," Robert Riedl, the county's director of personnel services, told the Kenosha News. "Hopefully we're on an upwardly mobile trend with claims savings as result of this program."

Meanwhile, the Boston Museum of Science's wellness program experiences a high participation rate and has led to significant weight loss and overall better health for its employees, The Boston Globe reported.

That's largely due to its ability to make wellness fun and creative. "We make science and math fun. We thought we could do the same for wellness," Wayne Bouchard, the museum's chief operating officer, told the Globe.

The Museum of Science also sponsors gardening sessions, hosts a nutrition blog and offers "planetarium quiet time," a half-hour show reserved for staff at least once a month. And the 57 employees who participated in the wellness program's weight loss effort have dropped 750 pounds in two years and also have lowered their cholesterol levels.  

To learn more:
- read the Kenosha News article
- see The Boston Globe article

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