A wellness program for state employees has reached a milestone, saving both them and the state money.
State employee enrollment has topped 30%, meeting recruitment goals.
Director of Administrative Services Carlos Castillo says catching conditions early produces savings in the long run.
“Obviously, if you catch somebody that’s pre-diabetic at the very beginning, versus progressed in their disease state at the end, that has a big financial impact for us,” Castillo says. “And, we’re clearly catching a lot of those cases.”
The better health of state employees creates a better bottom-line for the state. Nebraska state government pays about 80% of the cost of health care coverage. Employees pay slightly more than 20%.
“So, it’s a very significant savings,” Gov. Heineman says. “But, ultimately, the objective here is the better workforce we have in terms of health and wellness, the better off we’re going to be, but it does, as I mentioned, help control our healthcare costs. It improves our productivity. Those are key things to us.”
Castillo is quick to add that the employee saves as well. He estimates a family in one of the high-end health plans could save as much as $1,500 dollars a year enrolling in the state wellness plan.
A total of 3,915 people, or more than 30% of state employees receiving health insurance benefits, are currently enrolled in the Wellness PPO plan. The state created a wellness-oriented health insurance plan in 2009, known as the Wellness PPO. In 2010, the wellness program was expanded to include employee spouses. The number participating rises to 5,342 when the 1,427 state employees participating in the WellnessOptions educational programs are included.