“Employers are hungry for alternatives to rising health care costs,” said James M. Repp, AvMed Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing.
Miami, Florida (PRWEB) February 27, 2012
Studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that worksite wellness programs significantly improve productivity and reduce health care costs. Organizations that implement these programs see substantial returns on their investments through reductions in hospitalizations, chronic diseases, and absences. “Employers are hungry for alternatives to rising health care costs,” said James M. Repp, AvMed Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing.
“In addition to providing affordable health plan options, AvMed partners with employers to provide prevention and wellness initiatives that help employees stay healthy and productive. Healthy employees translate to a healthy bottom line. We work closely with companies to develop strategies specific to their workforce. ”
For the larger employer groups, AvMed provides health fairs to help them design wellness programs and even benefit plan designs. In one instance, the health screenings revealed that employees from a large automotive group had issues with weight management as well as smoking and hypertension. As a result, AvMed was able to connect them with a health education center to provide instruction on smoking cessation. A nutritionist also met with employees to provide information on diabetes and healthy eating. AvMed administered a “Biggest Loser®” competition among the employees and over 169 participants lost more than 430 pounds over an 8-week period. The employer provided the winner a financial incentive.
“Employers realize they need to get their workers engaged in order to impact their overall health costs and employee productivity in general." says Repp. The Institute for Health and Aging projects, that by 2020 the U.S. will spend $685 billion a year in direct medical costs for persons with chronic diseases, and by 2050 – $906 billion.*
Many employers are unaware of the linkages between health and productivity. In fact, indirect costs of poor health including absenteeism, or reduced work output may be several times higher than direct medical costs. Productivity losses related to personal and family health problems cost U.S. employers $1,685 per employee per year, or $225.8 billion annually, according to the CDC.**
“Having healthier employees is an advantage for everyone,” added Repp. “A healthier workplace is more productive and more energetic. Workplace wellness programs are a win-win for both the employer and the employee.”
In a case of practicing what it preaches, AvMed rolled out an employee wellness program that evaluated employees’ fitness by taking biometric measurements such as weight, body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and glucose levels.
After determining the baseline biometrics, goals were set for employees based on guidelines and recommendations from the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association. Measurements were taken again after one year of participating in the program. The results are pending but employees will receive financial rewards based on their improvements.
“Our employees were very engaged in the program, happy with it, and working towards their goals,” said Ed Hannum, AvMed President and COO.
*Hoffman, Catherine and Dorothy P. Rice. Chronic Care in America: A 21st century challenge. San Francisco, CA: The Institute for Health and Aging, University of California.
About AvMed Health Plans
AvMed has been providing health care coverage to Florida citizens and businesses for over 40 years, serving large and small employers in most major markets around the state. AvMed provides Medicare Advantage products in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, and Individual coverage in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. For more information about AvMed, visit http://www.avmed.org.