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Staff Survey Feedback Related to Health and Wellness

Posted Jul 05 2011 9:29pm
We recently conducted a staff survey that included some open ended questions about our benefits. Like most folks, I honed in on the negative feedback and I'm looking for opportunities to address the concerns people raised. It was the impetus for my recent post about our vision benefits and a response to a question about the cost of our fitness program in our weekly staff e-newsletter. Then, I got to thinking that this blog gives me a platform for being very direct. So, here's what I heard and what I wish people understood.
  • Choice of UnitedHealthCare (UHC) - We didn't choose UHC because the coverage was cheaper. Guardian is no longer in the health insurance business, so we had to find a new carrier. We went through a very structured decision making process to identify the carrier that would best meet ASHA's needs. I shared details of the selection process in  this post
  • Prescription drug coverage - For many years, we had a very liberal pharmacy benefit -- no insurance companies offer plans with a 90 day supply of maintenance medications via retail or mail order pharmacy for one copay currently. This year we moved our insurance to UHC and many of us have found the pharmacy benefit more restrictive and more costly. I talked about it and shared some tips on how to save money on prescription drugs in this post. 
  • Vision coverage - I appreciate hearing feedback about our new vision coverage with UHC. I've learned that UHC focuses on getting large box stores in their network and ASHA staff tend to favor seeing individual practitioners, so this coverage might not be the best fit for us. Please continue to share your experience and we'll consider making a change for 2012. More details here
  • Fitness class cost - Study after study shows that healthy work environments benefit an organization’s productivity and bottom line.  Workplace wellness programs that address lifestyle changes and promote health demonstrate clear returns on investment. The American Journal of Health Promotion estimates that employers can realize a return as high as $4 for every $1 invested in their employees’ well-being. I just heard a recent SHRM study showed an even higher return of $6 for every dollar spent. In reality, a very small percentage of the money ASHA spends on healthcare is allocated toward wellness and an even smaller portion to our on-site fitness program. The staff that participate in the classes defray a lot of the cost. And, we all benefit when our population is healthy because it keeps all of our healthcare costs down. (56 staff members or 22% of the staff are currently taking at least one class per week.) This article in yesterday's Washington Post, Corporate fitness programs survive hard times talks about the trends and ROI of workplace wellness.
  • St. Thomas trip - ASHA did not pay for the trip to St. Thomas. It was a gift from our very generous broker, Mark Sager. You can learn more about it here
  • My time - I'm passionate about health and wellness and I spend a lot of my personal time reading, writing, planning and networking about it. I guess from the outside it looks disproportionate and frankly it is. I definitely don't spend my free time reading up on unemployment hearings, responding to subpoenas and such... I know it sounds a bit pollyannaish, but I really do care about my colleagues at ASHA and that's a huge motivator for me. On a related front, I enjoy many of the fitness classes, but they're not designed for my personal benefit. Many are the result of requests from staff. For example, Diane Paul suggested our new TRX class. Personally, my focus is on training for my first triathlon right now.
There was some positive feedback too. For example, this comment, "Excellent benefits: health insurance, wellness program, disability, annual and sick leave, flextime, flexplace, telecommuting, paying for professional development, computer loan program. The exercise program is one of the best benefits and I think it's contributed to my overall better health and appreciation for work and life. It's great that ASHA supplements the classes. Keep it going!" It's feedback like this that does keep me going. 
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