Here's the story from Clarion's news release:
Clarian Announces Health Care Changes For 2008 and 2009
Indianapolis--January 2007 saw the introduction of Clarian Health's mission strategy: A Call to Change. Through billboards, television and radio commercials, as well as community events and health fairs, Clarian has issued a call to all citizens of Indiana to take control and improve their health. Not only did Clarian issue a call, but the organization and its employees are acting on it.
There is no shortage of news stories or political speeches about the rising costs of health care, how much money and productivity companies lose due to employees who are sick and cannot work, or how unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking are affecting Hoosiers and resulting in higher hospital utilization.
Year after year, headlines remind us that Indiana has had the dubious distinction of being one of the most unhealthy states in America. However, there has been no significant improvement in this status and a comprehensive solution is nowhere in sight.
As Indiana's health care leader, Clarian has been a leader in exploring ways to better manage and reduce the cost of health care. Like other organizations, Clarian is looking for ways to help improve the health status of its employees. Focusing on health prevention and wellness, Clarian is actively working to improve its employees' health by incenting and empowering them to lead healthier lifestyles.
Beginning in 2009, all Clarian Health employees who elect to participate in the organization's medical insurance plans must complete a health screening (body mass index, LDL cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure) and Health Risk Appraisal (HRA).
In 2008, the HRA is necessary for enrollment in company-sponsored plans with employees self-reporting their health risk results. One self-reported health risk will be a statement of tobacco use or non-use status.
Also new in 2008 will be a health risk charge of $5 per paycheck for medical plan participants who have used tobacco within six months of their HRA completion date. This is an effort within our health plan changes to provide an incentive for employees to adopt healthier lifestyle habits.
"Any employee currently enrolled in medical coverage or electing coverage during open enrollment will need to complete the HRA to obtain coverage under the medical plan as of January 1, 2008," said Steve Wantz, senior vice president of Administration and Human Resources. "Clarian has carefully weighed the pros and cons as well as conducted research surrounding this approach, including a timed series of focus groups with Clarian employees," added Wantz.
"Clarian Human Resources and associates from Clarian's Wellness staff have structured this program based on measurements and guidelines from the National Institutes of Health and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute," stated Brian O'Connor, director of Benefits for Clarian.
Clarian is notifying employees of the medical plan well in advance to ensure they "know their numbers" and allow employees time to address any personal areas of risk with their doctors before the screening and before the 2009 benefit changes go into effect.
Clarian will offer free screenings for blood pressure and BMI during the summer and fall of 2007 for employees interested in obtaining these health measurements. The organization will offer a variety of resources and support, as well as education about health risks, to employees who "know their numbers," and who want to make positive change toward improving their health and lessening their health insurance premium costs.
"The information provided in the HRA will not be used to exclude anyone from our medical insurance plans," said O'Connor. "We hope that employees learn about one or more health risks they may not have been aware of, they will take steps to protect their health and, by addressing those risks, no longer fall into a high-risk category for some or even all of the risks identified by the time the 2009 plan changes take effect."
Wantz added, "This is really part of our Call to Change mission communications strategy. This time, we are asking employees to make a personal call to change."
Employees who have a health risk they would like to address or want help quitting tobacco can find help through a variety of resources at Clarian.
A reasonable alternative will be in place for those employees for whom it is unreasonably difficult or medically inadvisable to satisfy the standard for any particular health risk due to a medical condition.
"We are as committed to the health and well-being of our employees as we are to that of our patients," stated Wantz. "As both a premier health care provider and employer, Clarian is in a unique position to provide the necessary resources and support to our employees seeking to improve their own health and make that personal change."
Next thing you know, some education organization might fire me for having a low IQ or something. It's a good thing I got that master's degree awhile back.
And one more thing: If anyone who works for me ever writes a news release this full of B.S., I may be tempted to fire them on the spot.