Employee engagement, soliciting feedback helps Humana boost its wellness program

Humana building
Humana engaged employees in its wellness program by offering incentives, such as lower insurance premiums for those who participated and rewards for physical activity regardless of ability.

Humana increased participation in its employee wellness program by engaging with staff members and including them in discussions about how to shape it in the future.

The insurer began tracking metrics on employees' health and engagement back in 2011, according to a Charlotte Business Journal article. At that time, only 18% of its staff members achieved “silver" status in its Go365 wellness rewards program, which offers points when staff members complete certain health-related activities. Reaching silver status equates to high levels of activity completion.

In five years, the insurer was able to increase participation in the program so that 72.4% of its staffers reached “silver” status or higher. The number of employees taking a health assessment increased from 65% to 92% between 2011 and 2016, and the number undergoing a biometric health screening increased from 74% to 87%.

The secret to those results, according to the article, was offering incentives such as lower insurance premiums for those who participated and rewards for physical activity regardless of ability. Plus, Humana sought feedback from employees. Based on that feedback, it created several new initiatives, like Spanish-language communications, enhanced health coaching and including regular vision and dental exams as part of its preventive services arm.

Such efforts also help the insurer's greater business strategy, as it tests many of its wellness initiatives among employees before offering them to members, Wes Hyland, manager for Humana's Charlotte, North Carolina, market, told the publication.

Last year, Humana released research showing that its wellness programs helped increase its employees' productivity and reduce their healthcare utilization. Participants in the program had six fewer hours of unscheduled absences, and their medical claims costs also dropped.

The insurer has also described how it took a new approach to its benefits to improve employee satisfaction, such as offering flexible paid time off.

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