MIAMI COUNTY — The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) announced a new wellness program that is not only free for eligible participants, but also rewards them with a $75 gift card.
The Better You, Better Ohio! program rolled out Thursday and is being sponsored by BWC in partnership with ActiveHealth Management.
“It’s effective today,” said Melony Bryant, BWC minority and small business advocate in the Department of Strategic Direction, while discussing the program at the Ohio Means Jobs office in Troy on Thursday morning.
The program targets Ohioans who are at greater risk for on-the-job injuries at small businesses that do not already have workplace wellness programs in order to help reduce rates of on-the-job injuries and and improve overall productivity.
The program is a free wellness assessment program that provides health and wellness resources and services to workers employed for small employers with 50 or fewer workers in high-risk industries. Those applicable high-risk industries include agriculture, automotive repair and service, construction, firefighters, health care, manufacturing, police and public safety, public employers, restaurant and food service, transportation and trucking, trash collection, and wholesale and retail, according to the BWC.
Workers who also complete the first part of the program receive a $75 Mastercard gift card just for participating.
The first part of the program will evaluate the participant’s overall health through an assessment with questions about lifestyle behaviors like smoking, and a biometric screening, which would measure a person’s physical characteristics from determining height and weight to finding out one’s blood pressure and blood cholesterol.
From that point, if participants have comorbidities — the presence of two chronic diseases or conditions at the same time — then they will be eligible for three coaching sessions, which will typically be a discussion with a clinician about lifestyle changes and how to improve their health.
If participants then complete the three coaching sessions, they will be eligible for an additional gift card valued at $50. It is not necessary for participants to complete the three coaching sessions to be eligible for the first gift card.
“So ultimately, anyone who’s interested in the program could potentially receive up to $125 in gift cards,” Bryant said. “There was a lot of discussion about should we offer the gift cards, shouldn’t we just want people to be healthy, are you going to get people in the program who solely just want $125, and we all know there are going to be individuals who do it just for that reason.”
Even though a number of people will only participate in the program for the gift cards, the BWC still wants people to participate and find out if they have any health issues that need to be addressed.
“Think about the population of people who don’t go to their doctor just to get a physical because you have to pay a copay, and they don’t know they have high blood pressure,” Bryant said. “You’d be amazed at how many people don’t know that they have diabetes or high blood pressure.”
On the employer side, they do not have to do anything to make sure their employees are eligible other than discuss this option with their employees.
“You need to do nothing at all as the employer except I will encourage you to have a discussion with your employees about this program,” Bryant said, noting that the employers do not have to fill out any paperwork. The employers themselves may also be eligible to participate in the wellness program if they count themselves as one of the covered
The BWC chose businesses with 50 or fewer employees, as they found that medium to large-size businesses already offered their own wellness programs, Bryant said. She said that the BWC also found that it costs about $150,000 for a business to roll out its own wellness program, which small businesses may not be able to invest in for a small number of employees.
In addition to the health assessment and biometric screening, participants will also have access to a member health site, a mobile app, digital coaching, and other resources to help workers take charge of their health.
For more information or to apply, visit www.bwc.ohio.gov/employer/services/SandH/BtrYouBtrOhioOverview.asp.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org