Wellness Program Keeps Healthcare Costs Down
Last year, the Chrysler Group avoided increases in healthcare costs for most of its 13,000-strong salaried U.S. workforce, even after the company experienced a 9 percent jump in costs in 2010. The best part is that Chrysler’s control tactics are no secret and are fairly simple to implement by other organizations. The three broad tactics used by the company include offering free flu shots to all employees, required health assessments, and healthcare action plans.
Approximately 10,000 salaried workers received free flu shots from the automaker in addition to access to employer-supplied fitness centers, health clinics, and healthier food choices in its cafeterias.
Employees participating in the company’s PPO plan (7 out of 10 workers) underwent annual physicals or received a significant increase in out-of-pocket increases for their healthcare plan. The in-network deductible increased from $1,000 for family coverage to $3,400 if an employee and his or her spouse refused to get physicals. Physicals included biometrics, blood sugar monitoring, assessment of tobacco use, BMI, and blood pressure testing. About 9 out of 10 PPO participants and spouses got physicals in lieu of suffering a higher deductible.
After receiving physicals, PPO participants and spouses received wellness action plans customized for based on test results and reported unhealthy behaviors. The purpose was to avoid future cost increases by facing existing health issues before they become worse. Also, in a further step to reduce future healthcare costs and as a part of its most recent labor deal, the company will give new non-exempt employees free annual physicals, as well.