County could consider wellness program in attempt to stem health care costs

Posted: Jan. 15, 2013 10:38 am Updated: Feb. 5, 2013 11:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Adams County officials might consider adopting a wellness program as a way to stem health care costs.

Steve Pasdiora with the county's insurance broker, Cottingham and Butler, told the county's Finance Committee on Monday night that the program would point out potential health risks of county employees.

Participants would undergo a biometric screening that would include measurements of height and weight, blood pressure, and temperature, as well as a blood test. They would then be scored on a scale of zero to 100, with 71 considered passing.

"We then produce an aggregate report, so you don't get anyone's individual score," Pasdiora said. "You as an employer can sit down and say ‘Here are our exposures.' "

Pasdiora said most groups that enroll in similar programs offer an incentive for employees to participate, such as continuing to pay for the full cost of employee health insurance. Employees who choose not to participate are charged a percentage of that cost.

"Probably about 70 percent of your claims right now are the result of a condition that could have been cared for earlier," Pasdiora said.

To maintain the incentives, employees who do not score 71 or better would have to show some improvement in health risk areas by losing weight, reducing their cholesterol level or quitting smoking.

Bargaining units that represent most county employees would have to agree to such a program. Individual employees currently do not share in the cost of the county's health insurance plan, which carries a premiumm of $575 a month for each employee. Contract negotiations are expected to start in April.

Finance Committee Chairman Duane Venvertloh, R-7, is open to the idea.

"I think it's worth a shot at explaining to the union that either everybody can pay something in premium, because that's where we have to go at some point, or we can give you that incentive to buy that back to zero by participating in this program," he said.