Lansing Board of Water and Light starts a new wellness program designed to get employees fit and trim down their health care costs.
Close to 30 percent of adults in Michigan are obese, according to the Center for Disease Control. Lansing’s Board of Water and Light want to do something about that statistic.
“We just look around across the nation and see that weight is an epidemic in the U.S. We’re doing our part to battle the epidemic,” said BWL spokesman Mark Nixon.
Monday, the company kicked off its new “Be Well For Life” program.
“Rather than proposing another diet, this is something more commonsensical. Simply reducing the portion of food you eat and adding exercise to it,” said Nixon.
BWL signed up with incentaHEALTH, a Colorado-based company that gives customized online coaching, exercising routines and motivation. BWL has set up kiosks for employees to monitor their progress. Jamie Putnam weighed in for the first time on Monday.
“I think it’s easy, user-friendly. You get e-mails from coaches everyday,” said Putnam.
Back in 2005, the Weyco Company in Okemos, now Meritain Health started an aggressive wellness program that not only encouraged employees to get healthy but mandated it. BWL says that is not it’s approach, but rather, getting healthy is a personal choice.
“It gives us the opportunity to do what we’ve wanted to do in terms of eating better and lifestyle changes,” said Putnam.
If the employee makes these lifestyle changes, the company itself will see lasting benefits. On Incenta Health’s Web site, it projects that BWL, a company with 710 employees could see health care savings of close to $70,000 a year.
“We’re hoping this is something they do for themselves — for the sake of their pocketbooks and the company’s pocketbooks,” said Nixon.
Employees can also earn money for getting in shape and maintaining it.
BWL is the third Lansing company to join Incenta Health’s wellness plan. The Accident Fund has been doing it since 2005 and Jackson National Life has been a part of it since April of 2009.
Jackson National says about a quarter of its 1800 employees are part of the wellness program. Jenny Quinn, who manages the Accident Fund’s program says 650 out of the 950 employees have joined in and the company collectively has lost more than 8,000 pounds over the past six years.
Both companies say they have seen great results so far and have also lowered their health care costs. Quinn said, “the program pays for itself.”
incentaHEALTH is an innovative health care technology company based in Denver, Colorado. incentaHEALTH’s fully outsourced, employee weight management program is designed to help organizations reduce their health care costs by offering incentives to employees for improving their health. This is achieved by helping employees manage their weight through the use of interactive email coaching, workplace weigh-ins on private kiosks, and cash rewards for maintaining long term health improvements. For more information, visit http://www.incentaHEALTH.com.