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Wellness program pays off for Lebanon

By Sara McManamy-Johnson sjohnson@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 17, 2015 at 6:59 PM

Lebanon is finding it pays to be proactive.

The city recently received a $10,000 check from Blue Cross Blue Shield and will receive a $10,000 credit on the city’s health insurance premium, thanks to the city’s newly implemented wellness program.

“It’s an incentive program on Blue Cross Blue Shield’s part to try to make the people they’ve got insured more healthy,” said Robert Springer, Lebanon’s commissioner of finance and revenues.

The city has already kicked off part of its wellness program by giving employees and their spouses free memberships to the Jimmy Floyd Center, which the city owns.

But that’s only part of the city’s plan.

To maintain eligibility for the wellness program credit, Blue Cross Blue Shield requires that the city offer a qualifying service each quarter, and the first quarter must be biometric screenings for employees.

During the screenings, employees’ blood sugar, blood pressure and weight are checked, and wellness coaches are on hand.

“These wellness coaches will look at your results and tell you if you need to seek medical assistance or care,” said Springer. “[Blue Cross Blue Shield] tells us that in these biometric screenings, inevitably in any kind of group of any size, they always run across somebody that didn’t know their blood pressure was up or didn’t know their blood sugar was up real high or real low. They’re able to assist them by getting them to go ahead and seek medical care.”

The screenings, which will be held over a three-day period in September, will cost about $12,000-$13,000.

“If we have a certain percentage of participation in those screening tests and if we have a plan for employees to participate in wellness activities each quarter…they will give you a credit on your next year’s premium and that credit can run from as little as $40,000-$50,000 on up to a couple of hundred thousand,” said Springer.

He sees the program as a win-win for employees and the city.

“We see it as a real positive for our employees, even if there weren’t a carrot at the end of it,” said Springer.

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