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In less than two years after incorporating the smoking cessation program, the number of employees who use cigarettes dropped from 30 percent to 5 percent, with Futura subsidizing the cost of medication to help employees quit smoking. And by following the health advice of Milavetz and participating in the wellness program, many male and female employees lowered their Body Mass Index rate by an average of three points.
“[With these changes], premiums go down and employees are healthier. It’s a win-win situation,” Milavetz says.
Employee involvement was also encouraged with programs like Get Up and Move, a weekly exercise program to evaluate fitness; a Biggest Loser competition; and Walk Across the World, a competition in which each employee is placed on a team, given a pedometer and told to walk—a lot. Gift cards, parties and airline tickets are awarded to individuals and teams that do the most walking.
In addition to the health benefits of these efforts, says Olsen, employees have developed a sense of teamwork and camaraderie by encouraging each other to work a little harder and be a little healthier.
The Bottom Line
Now entering its fifth year of operation, the Futura Medical Clinic has reduced costs for hospitalization, emergency room visits and sick leave. Overall health at the company has improved, allowing the company to get even lower insurance premium costs—which it passes along to workers. Furthermore, employees take a more active role in their healthcare and get in-depth insurance analysis each year to help determine their best savings options.
Yearly direct costs to Futura include $779 per employee to operate the clinic, $139 per employee to provide healthy snacks at the workplace, $831 per employee for HRA funding and $116 per employee to provide an on-site physical therapist. Futura paid $4,534 in health insurance premiums for each employee and Altius Insurance paid an average of $2,736 in claims per employee.
“The clinic pays for itself in the sense that premiums haven’t gone up,” Milavetz says. “We’ve had a zero-percent increase in the last four years. That in itself pays for the clinic.”
Milavetz receives phone calls every week from companies interested in starting up their own on-site medical clinics, and she predicts this concept will become a national movement that will help strengthen the country’s economy, as well as create a healthier population.
“Don’t you think we should be helping corporate America to get the biggest bang for their healthcare buck?” Dr. Milavetz asks. “We need innovative ways to keep insuring America and keep the quality of care improving instead of declining. Healthcare today isn’t sustainable.”