A Priority Health Wellness Plan is Proven to Lower Employer Costs and Improve Employee Health

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In a new five-year study, Priority Health has proven that its hybrid
health plan featuring wellness incentives has successfully lowered
employer costs and improved employee health, a win-win development for
small and large business owners alike.

More than 75 percent of the $2.8 trillion in national health care costs
are due to chronic disease, such as coronary heart disease and type 2
diabetes reports the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and
Health Promotion. And according to the Michigan Department of Community
Health, nearly 60 percent of Michigan’s population suffers from one or
more chronic conditions; diseases that can largely be prevented by
making comprehensive lifestyle changes.

The combined challenge of rising health care costs and the prevalence of
chronic conditions take a toll on employee wellness, performance and
attendance, and have a negative effect on employer overhead. It’s why a Tower
Watson study
found 66 percent of employers nationwide are looking to
build a healthy workplace culture.

In 2007, Priority Health launched HealthbyChoice®,
a plan designed to reward participants for getting and staying healthy
while reducing health care costs for employers. HealthbyChoice
plans raise awareness of potential health risks and reward employees for
making measurable progress toward being healthier. The incentive-based
health plan is working.

In the five-year study, Priority Health identified the impact of HealthbyChoice
plans in two key areas: chronic conditions and cost. The study compared
nine employer groups with HealthbyChoice to nine groups without
the plan representing nearly 9,000 members. Each member on a HealthbyChoice
plan saved employers up to 12 percent in claims cost or, on average, $60
per month. This reduction in overall health care costs helped save
employers roughly $1.2 million over four years.

The study showed a marked reduction in the development of chronic
conditions and disease in the HealthbyChoice population,
specifically around chronic lung disease (27 percent less), diabetes (26
percent less) and ischemic heart disease (26 percent less).

“Employers are taking a greater interest in the well-being of their
employees, and for good reason,” said Marti Lolli, Priority Health,
senior vice president of commercial products. “Healthier employees mean
lower cost and less absenteeism. The HealthbyChoice plans are
creating the return on investment employers are looking for in their
workplace wellness programs.”

Based on guidelines put out by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, Priority Health uses five indicators to measure employee

  — Tobacco use
— Blood pressure
— Cholesterol
— Blood sugar

Oakland University of Rochester, Mich. is one of the employers
experiencing the benefits of HealthbyChoice.

“At Oakland University, it is important to have employees engaged in
their health and wellbeing,” said Kevin Venet, Oakland University,
Compensation, Benefits, and HRIS manager. “One way of promoting
engagement is by providing the HealthbyChoice wellness plan where
employees are provided important information that helps them shape the
direction of their quality of life.”

Priority Health is further enhancing its HealthbyChoice plan by
adding online support tools amongst the products features. These
enhancements include:

  — Tobacco cessation tools to help members quit smoking by setting
goals and tracking progress
— Quarterly health tracking opportunities are offered for activity,
nutrition, and stress management

For more information on the study and wellness plans like HealthbyChoice,
visit priorityhealth.com.

About Priority Health:

Priority Health is an award-winning, Michigan-based non-profit health
plan nationally recognized for improving the health and lives of the
people it serves. It continues to lead the industry in engaging members
in their health, delivering effective health and disease management
programs and working with physicians to improve health care outcomes and
performance. Priority Health is one of only 20 health plans nationwide
offering wellness programs accredited by the National Committee for
Quality Assurance, an organization which also rated it among the best
health plans in the nation. The State of Michigan named the Priority
Health HMO the benchmark plan for all individual and group HMO plans to

Priority Health offers a broad portfolio of health benefit options for
employer groups and individuals, including Medicare and Medicaid plans.
Its network of health care providers features 95 percent of practicing
physicians available in Michigan and more than 900,000 health care
providers nationwide.


Priority Health
Amy Miller, (616) 464-8571