When I focus on the facts about the lack of wellness in our workforce, it keeps me up at night. I worry for our associates. I worry for our children.
Concentrate on these facts about Obesity and you’ll agree.
- Between 1980 and 2000, obesity rates doubled among adults. About 60 million adults, or 30% of the adult population, are now obese.
- Similarly since 1980, overweight rates have doubled among children and tripled among adolescents – increasing the number of years they are exposed to the health risks of obesity.
This is only one aspect of the overall problem, of course. Yet it’s a powerful reminder that we are heading in the wrong direction.
Consider the fact that Westlake Financial Group, Inc. has been on the front line of communication since 1999, when we introduced BenefitsTalk our on-line enrollment program. We found ourselves in the catbird seat. We’ve spent the last 12 years teaching associates how to use the internet to enroll in their benefit programs. Now they are teaching us that they would prefer to use the web for virtually all of their other needs. Therefore we need to provide the associates with wellness electives through and during enrollment.
During the new hire process and again during the open enrollment period, we need to provide the tools to the associate to become well. Over the last twelve years we’ve learned that a voluntary program simply doesn’t work. Therefore we must mandate that the associates comply. We can manage that process through financial incentives. PPACA for 2014 makes that initiative even more visible and viable.
Westlake Financial Group, Inc. has pioneered the use of data integrated into the online enrollment itself, to forecast the expected health issues arising. Through a combination of data integration and health risk assessments, including family health history we can create a probable scenario.
However, if we were successful in reaching all of our associates we would still miss our goal, until… we reach the dependents. Our BenefitsTalk program now asks questions of the spouse and the dependent children to age 26. If we don’ t manage the dependent expenses, we’ll never control the costs.
So let’s get started.