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ARTICLE UnitedHealthcare Honors Employers for Outstanding Worksite Wellness Programs

MINNETONKA, Minn. (Jan. 28, 2011) – UnitedHealthcare has presented 10 organizations with the annual "Well Deserved" award for 2010,an honor given to employers who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to helping their employees improve their health and well-being through worksite wellness programs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic diseases are the most common and costly of all health issues, but they are also among the most preventable. The use of effective workplace programs and policies can reduce health risks and improve the quality of life for millions of workers in the United States.

Employers also benefit. More businesses are adopting wellness programs as a way to improve employee health and productivity, reduce absenteeism, build teamwork within the organization, and better manage health care costs. Wellness Councils of America estimates that a $1 investment in a comprehensive wellness program saves an average of $3 in health care costs.

Among this year's winners, two employers have won the "Well Deserved" award for two consecutive years. In recognition of these organizations' ongoing commitment to employee health and well-being, UnitedHealthcare also presented them with a Golden Apple award to honor this multi-year distinction.

The following organizations earned the "Well Deserved" Golden Apple award:

  • City of San Antonio, Texas – The city of San Antonio's Wellness Rewards Program is an incentive-based wellness program that allows employees to accumulate points and rewards for participating in a range of health and wellness activities. They include completing health assessments; obtaining preventive screenings; practicing healthy behaviors such as participation in healthy pregnancy or online coaching programs; monitoring blood pressure, weight and body mass index at one of 11 health kiosks located in city-owned buildings; and keeping a food journal or physical activity journal for eight weeks. The city also offers the "Employee Health + Wellness Center," a dedicated clinic for use by city of San Antonio employees only.
  • Jockey International Inc., Kenosha, Wis. – Jockey's wellness program includes health fairs, a free smoking-cessation program for all employees and dependents, onsite yoga and Pilates classes, and free onsite mammograms and flu shots. Employees are also encouraged to complete an annual health assessment and participate in online coaching sessions to reduce health risks. In 2010, the company provided educational materials about the appropriate use of emergency room services and solutions for back pain, and sponsored several employee weight loss and fitness challenges.

Other organizations receiving the 2010 "Well Deserved" award were:

  • AAA Auto Club South, Tampa, Fla. – The goal of Auto Club South's wellness program is to "build a healthy, engaged work force with the skills and motivation to achieve desired results for themselves and the Club." Senior leadership is actively involved in the company's wellness program that included the "Golden Sneaker Award" competition, which resulted in high employee-participation levels. The bi-monthly wellness newsletter, Highway 2 Health, enables employees and retirees to stay updated on available wellness resources.
  • Adams County Government, Brighton, Colo. – Adams County's Journey to Wellness program uses a variety of resources, tools and incentives that include onsite behavior modification programs, health fairs and targeted screenings, resulting in improved employee health outcomes and reduced health care claims. The county also offers "facility champs" at each county location to assist employees and answer questions about health and wellness.
  • Bricker & Eckler LLP, Columbus, Ohio – Bricker & Eckler identified primary health risks of its employee population, and offers a wide variety of wellness services to address those health risks, including an onsite exercise facility with personal training support, health fairs, biometric screenings and immunizations. The company also offers positive-parenting classes, yoga and self-defense courses, and a smoking-cessation program.
  • City of Dublin, Ohio – The city of Dublin allows its employees to waive their monthly contribution towards their health insurance premiums if they participate in wellness initiatives such as completing a health assesment and engaging in healthy activities throughout the year. Participating employees also can earn "points" that can be used toward city services such as group fitness classes, nutrition classes, pool passes and other programs.
  • Klein Independent School District, Klein, Texas – Klein Independent School District's Kleinwell Healthy Living program allows employees to earn points for their participation in wellness activities such as completing a health assessment, a recommended exam or preventive screening, and for participating in challenges that promote healthy behaviors. The district maintains a tobacco-free workplace, and the wellness program is actively supported by the school superintendent and principals.
  • Mary Kay Inc., Dallas, Texas – Mary Kay's wellness program provides free biometric screenings, educational seminars, "Wellness Wednesdays" and leadership support. Non-exempt employees receive two hours of paid time per month to visit their doctor for preventive screenings, resulting in more employees taking part in wellness exams.
  • Meredith Corp., Des Moines, Iowa – Meredith awards employees a $500 annual health insurance premium discount for completing wellness initiatives throughout the year. Employees can be reimbursed for successful completion of programs such as joining a health club, group and personal training, nutrition counseling, team sports leagues, road races, bicycle commuting and tobacco cessation. In 2010, Meredith launched a financial wellness program and established a Well-Bucks initiative that rewards participating employees with reimbursement dollars for fitness equipment and apparel.
  • Meritage Home Corp., Scottsdale, Ariz. – Meritage employees who have completed a health assessment, biometric screening, and online, telephonic or mail-based coaching programs receive credits toward their health insurance premiums. Wellness committee members are encouraged to develop and offer wellness activities that are appropriate for employees at each of Meritage Homes' 13 locations. Examples include weight loss challenges, fitness activities and healthy-food competitions. An onsite wellness coach is available once a week to assist with health challenges. Meritage Homes provides health and wellness education through newsletters, mailings, seminars, online learning classes and onsite events for all employees and their families.

"This year's 'Well Deserved' award winners have developed onsite wellness programs that demonstrate a true commitment to improving their employees' quality of life and promoting healthful behaviors," said Carol Calvin, RN, MS, CPQH and national director of UnitedHealthcare Health and Wellness. "Employers that help their employees reduce their health risks and enhance their use of recommended preventive care services play a critical role in improving our health care system."

The "Well Deserved" award program was designed to recognize employer customers that have implemented successful wellness programs and to reinforce UnitedHealthcare's mission of helping people live healthier lives. An external broker review panel using widely accepted guidelines for effective worksite programs reviewed and judged the applicants.

About UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare provides a full spectrum of consumer-oriented health benefit plans and services to individuals, public sector employers and businesses of all sizes, including more than half of the Fortune 100 companies. The company organizes access to quality, affordable health care services on behalf of approximately 25 million individual consumers, contracting directly with more than 650,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals to offer them broad, convenient access to services nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.