Deadlines near to qualify for wellness incentives

As employees visit the annual Benefits Fair today and tomorrow, they should keep in mind that coverage enrollment deadlines are not the only ones fast approaching.

As in previous years, faculty and staff who participate in the university’s two wellness incentive programs can earn up to $500 during the next calendar year. To be eligible for either offering, however, they must complete two forms and receive a biometric screening by Monday Nov. 30. To participate in a free, on-campus screening, employees may register for an on campus screening through Friday, Nov. 13. Walk-in visits are available daily, and the availability of those walk-in appointments is greater through Nov. 20. The on campus screening schedule may be found here; please note that participants need to have fasted for 9 to 12 hours before the blood work portion of the screening, but are able to drink water during this period.

“These wellness programs have drawn many positive comments among our campus community,” President Barbara R. Snyder said, “in particular that programs have improved health and safety and reduced stress and chronic pain. I hope we can continue to build momentum by having another year of widespread participation.”

The Wellness Premium Incentive offering requires that participants complete a Health Risk Appraisal (HRA) form, a tobacco attestation form, and a biometric screening that checks the following items:

  • blood pressure
  • cholesterol
  • triglycerides
  • glucose
  • height
  • weight
  • BMI
  • waist circumference

The information provided through the HRA and screening is provided to the university by third parties in aggregate, de-identified format. That is, Case Western Reserve receives no individual’s specific personal information.

Those who complete these three steps, and have chosen a university medical insurance plan, will receive a $25 per month wellness incentive during 2016. They also qualify for the second incentive, which is based on engagement in wellness programs. Those who meet participation criteria for one of those programs will receive $100. Those who participate in two receive $200. Employees may participate in additional programs, but will not receive additional financial rewards. The wellness programs cover topics such as stress management, tobacco cessation, nutrition and/or weight management and physical activity. Participants in several of the programs have overwhelmingly given them ratings of excellent or very good (96 percent in the stress program, and 97 percent in a “healthy back and bodies” program.). In addition, the HRA results have provided Human Resources and Wellness leaders with insights regarding the greatest health risks employees report, an essential first step toward helping individuals address them—and the organization to support them in their endeavors.

As wellness programs become increasingly common nationwide, research has been mixed on their actual financial return—with most focused on the impact on the organization’s health care costs and/or number of sick days. Wellness program advocates have encouraged consideration of other measures within research—for example, productivity, climate improvements and job satisfaction among individuals who generally feel better, either through improved stress management, exercise, or a mix of factors.

“Case Western Reserve’s mission statement centers on discovering new knowledge and increasing understanding,” said university medical director Elizabeth Click. “Our ability to achieve those goals depends on the well-being of our people. That is why we offer these programs—we want to give our community multiple opportunities, and approaches, to be as healthy as possible in every way.”

Additional information about the university’s wellness program may be found at