September 14, 2009
Regence worksite wellness program pays off
Health plan 'walks the talk' and research demonstrates wellness results
PORTLAND – As both a large employer and a health plan, Regence has the opportunity and the experience to share what works in its worksite wellness program. And a rigorous look at its program shows Regence also demonstrates expertise on improving productivity for its own employees.
“We started our worksite wellness program because we wanted to walk the talk about the importance of health,” said Mark Ganz, Regence President and CEO.. “When we saw results early on, we wanted to verify that data with some best-practices research.”
Among the findings from tracking more than 5,300 employees:
- Engagement: Participation grew from 38 percent to 68 percent from 2005 to 2007.
- Productivity: Participants showed 20 percent less likelihood of unplanned absence; 28 percent less likelihood of disability.
- Medical claims: Participants in the integrated education program with monetary incentives had medical claims that averaged $66 a year less than nonparticipants.
- Return on investment (ROI): Even after applying program costs more rigorous than any published study to date, Regence realized an average $1.59 ROI for every $1 invested (productivity savings + claims cost savings).
“We believe this is the most credible ROI research to date,” said Denise Johnson, Regence Human Resources Director. “There are many studies out there, but not to this level of rigor, and yet we still have a tangible ROI that we expect will grow.”
Existing studies use differing methodologies, but Regence adhered to best-practices methods for determining productivity ROI for a risk-matched population, Johnson said.
“These are exciting results,” Ganz said. “This demonstrates that Regence’s long-term commitment to creating a broad-based, integrated wellness culture is a sound investment.”
Regence is a leading health insurer in the Northwest / Mountain State Region, offering health, life and dental insurance. We serve nearly three million members as Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence BlueShield (selected counties in Washington), Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and Regence BlueShield of Idaho. Each plan is a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Regence is committed to improving the health of our members and our communities, and to transforming our health care system. For more information, please visit regence.com.