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Stretching your Medical Plan Further: Tips for Happy and Healthy Employees

/ January 29, 2017 January 29, 2017


January is usually a time of new beginnings.  We reflect on the past and come up with resolutions to make this the best year yet! According to a recent poll by Statistic Brain, the number one New Year’s Resolution for Americans in 2017 was “Lose Weight/Healthier Eating”.  Other popular resolutions included “Quit Smoking” and “Work Out More Often”.  So many of our resolutions are health-related, and your medical plan is a great place to start to look for tools that can help you reach these goals that won’t break the bank.

It’s important as an employer to understand what benefits are offered through your plan so that you can communicate them to your employees and encourage their resolutions towards a healthier lifestyle.

  1. Weight loss:  Year after year this continues to be a top resolution for men and woman of all ages.  But with the costs of programs like Weight Watchers and the amount of education needed regarding nutrition, employees face a wide variety of road blocks.  Depending on your medical carrier, your employees could be eligible for benefits such as free nutrition counseling and weight loss program reimbursements.  Independence Blue Cross, for example, offers a Nutrition Counseling benefit of 6 free in-network visits to a registered dietitian per year.  They also offer reimbursements for qualified weight loss programs.
  2. Fitness:  The New Year is a perfect time to go after that fitness goal you have been itching to accomplish.  However, a costly gym membership may not be in everyone’s budget.  Encourage employees to check out your medical carrier’s website, as they most likely offer some type of fitness reimbursement. Aetna offers up to a $150 per year reimbursement for both you and your spouse.   This includes expenses such as gym memberships, fitness classes, personal training, and more!
  3. Smoking Cessation:  Because of the extensive health problems smoking has been proven to cause, insurance carriers have been encouraging employers to help their employees quit.  Depending on the size of your employer, some plans even charge extra for employees on the plan who are smokers.  Let your employees know that their medical plan is there to help.  IBC offers employees up to $200 back when they complete a qualified program to help them quit smoking.  Aetna and Cigna also offer similar benefits.

These are just a few of the hidden benefits in your medical plans that can help you jump start your New Year’s resolutions and help you stay on track throughout the year.  Be sure to log onto your medical carrier’s website to explore the wide variety of programs offered to you and your staff.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2017!