Optima Health's Incentive-Based Wellness Program Bends Cost Curve

Model for businesses to improve employee health and reduces costs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., July 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Optima Health, the insurance arm of Virginia-based Sentara Healthcare, announces a five-year savings of $4 million since the start of its employee wellness program. For every dollar invested, it saved $2.70. Healthcare costs were expected to reach $23 million in 2011, instead were $21 million.

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The wellness program, called Mission: Health launched in 2008 and offers annual $600 premium reductions and other paid incentives to participants. The program includes personal health assessments, wellness coaching, and employee communications. Employees with no risk factors or those who agree to quarterly conversations with health coaches receive reduced premiums. Employees with certain chronic diseases, such as diabetes or coronary artery disease can receive $460 by participating in the condition management program.

Optima Health analyzed 5,000 healthy and chronically-ill members involved in the program all five years. Eighty-seven percent improved or maintained blood pressure, body-mass index, cholesterol, tobacco use and level of exercise, which bent the rate of rise of healthcare spending. Optima Health saw a 10.5 percent decrease over the five-year time frame.

"We are very excited about the improvements that Mission: Health has made in the health and lives of Sentara employees," comments Optima Health President and CEO Michael M. Dudley.

About Optima Health
Optima Health provides health insurance to 440,000+ members throughout Virginia. We offer a suite of commercial products including HMO, PPO, High-deductible HSA and HRA plans in commercial, individual and Medicaid markets. Our 21,000 provider network includes specialists, primary care physicians and hospitals across the state. Optima Health offers programs to support members with chronic illnesses, customized wellness programs, and integrated clinical and behavioral health services, as well as pharmacy management. Learn more at www.optimahealth.com.

SOURCE Optima Health