Central Michigan University named one of Michigan's Healthiest Employers

CMU supports healthy lifestyles through incentive and gain-sharing programs
For the Health of It

Central Michigan University today has been named a finalist in the 2013 Michigan’s Healthiest Employers program, presented by Crain’s Detroit Business, MiBiz and Priority Health. The award recognizes CMU’s benefits and wellness program, “For the Health of It,” as well as the participation of employees across campus.

According to Crain’s Detroit Business, this recognition acknowledges CMU as a frontrunner in emerging national emphasis among cutting-edge corporations and organizations to support employees in their efforts to lead healthy lifestyles.

“For the Health of It,” launched in 1999, includes a wellness incentive program and a unique gain-sharing program through which employees complete four wellness components to receive their share of a fiscal year-end positive balance in the university’s self-funded health plans. Components include an annual health risk assessment, exercise, an annual physical and blood work, and wellness screenings/programs.

“Healthy lifestyles should be a personal goal for each of us,” said President George E. Ross. “At CMU, we’re pleased to support employees when they take steps to live healthy.”

More than 2,000 individual wellness incentives were distributed during the past fiscal year. Dependents who are enrolled in the university’s medical and prescription drug plans also are eligible for some of the incentives. More than 250 employees completed all four components last year. As a result, employees say they’re more satisfied, happy and energized, both professionally and personally.

The wellness efforts are having an impact. In contrast to rising health care premiums nationally, the university has seen a decline in premiums in its self-insured medical and prescription drug plans, said Jacqueline Pridgeon, director of benefits and wellness at CMU.

“Medical and prescription drug rates decreased by two percent the previous fiscal year and medical rates remained the same, and prescription drug rates decreased by another two percent for the current fiscal year,” Pridgeon said. “Meanwhile, premiums nationally increased an average of four or five percent annually.”

In addition to the wellness incentive program, other factors contributing to the lowering of health care costs include a high ratio of employees obtaining health maintenance exams, colonoscopies and mammograms in suggested intervals, and the increase in use of generic drugs, Pridgeon said.