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August 15, 2012
Health system offers staff ‘carrots’ to slim down

Geisinger Health System is serious about health, including that of its employees.

The company, which serves about 2.6 million Pennsylvania residents, was among 66 U.S. employers named 2012 Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles by the National Business Group on Health. Geisinger was acknowledged for cultivating a culture of wellness among employees.

The 5-year-old wellness program develops interactive education about the benefits of healthy behaviors and the risk factors associated with chronic disease.

Recently, its incentive-based MyHealth Rewards program was launched to motivate employees to make positive changes.

Geisinger staff members are also being encouraged to slim down with the promise of lower monthly insurance payments.

Employees who enroll in the program will be tested for body mass index, cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels.

Those whose numbers are in the healthy range, or who make progress toward improving them by October, will pay less for their share of insurance costs in 2013 than employees who don’t take such steps.

The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader quotes Allison Hess, director of wellness at Geisinger, who said such programs represent an industry trend.

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She explained, “The traditional voluntary, type programs are definitely on the decline and employers are looking at incentive programs that drive behavior change.”
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