Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Last night was my final call and monthly appointment with my "Get Healthy" program appointed Wellness Coach, Jill. I am going to miss talking with her and going over progress reports, etc. But I have not only met, but exceeded all the goals set forth by myself and by the program. So much so in fact, that Jill is putting me in as a success story to the organization. Don't know about all that, I just wanted to look and feel better lol.
For those that don't already know, a little background on the Get Healthy program. I work for the State of Pennsylvania, specifically for the PA State Police. As a State employee, all of our medical, dental, health benefits are paid in part by PEBTF (PA Employee Benefit Trust Fund). Now, just as all your employers in the private sector, and just like all companies large or small, the PA State Government is struggling with the ever rising cost of health care. And tighter and tighter budgets every year mean less money for all things. The unions try to negotiate a fair contract for us with good health coverage at somewhat affordable cost, etc. (Contrary to popular belief, we do NOT have free health care, NOR do taxpayers pay for the majority of it, etc). At the end of the day, the State has the same problem your boss does. How do I continue to pay for and provide my employees health coverage with ever rising costs, without raising their deduction to the point of a major cut, yet not bankrupt ourselves in the process? Often times the solution is to make employees pay a higher deductible for less coverage, more co-pays and at higher amounts, etc. Its an every changing persistent game of shuffling.
The fact is people...here is the harsh reality. No matter who signs your paycheck, its super expensive to provide health care for you and your family because quite frankly we are a nation of lazy fat asses. Oh, did I offend you? Well its true. I was one as well. I weighed 260 pounds, I didnt move much except from my cubicle to the bathroom on occasion and when I got off work, I was too worn out to do much more than watch tv until bed or play video games. I didnt even have the energy or desire most nights to cook any food other than the 5 minutes it took to heat up a processed box of whatever or maybe if I had some spare cash hit Wendy's drive through on the way home. And I am not alone. My whole family in one way or another exhibited similar lifestyles and it was super expensive to take care of them. 3 relatives with type II diabetes, 7 with high cholesterol who will forever be on drugs, high blood pressure in nearly all adults over 30, an average of 40 lbs overweight per all of us, etc. And that is the new standard of America. Its true and its why Health care is so expensive. And why we pay more copay and why every so many years our benefits deductions go up, etc. So, what is Get Healthy? (Sorry for the tangent rant)
Get Healthy is a program sponsored by Highmark Blue Shield and the PEBTF to offer a major incentive to all State workers. If you can take a self assessment and be determined to be "Healthy" your employer (State of PA) gets to pay 50% less to cover your health care benefit with NO reduction in quality or coverage. Because you worked to be healthy, its simply costs less to cover you with the same plan it costs to cover unhealthy or "At Risk" people. Simple truth. AND because it costs them 50% less to cover you, that means it costs 50% less of a pay deduction from your check. In other words, if I can be labeled as "Healthy", I pay half what the rest do for the same health plan. Pretty cool eh?
But what if your assessment puts you "At Risk"? Well I was there. Enter the Wellness Coach program and my new buddy Jill. If you enroll in Wellness Coaching, what PEBTF calls "Get Healthy" and you keep your appointments, you automatically go into the 50% reduction category. Because you are taking steps to change your life, and doing something about your health. At the end of the year/program, your coach submits your progress and you either get labeled as "Healthy" and keep the reduced cost, or you re-enroll and try again. Basically its a reward for those who are at least trying to better themselves. When I enrolled with Jill back in February of last year, I was 260 lbs, 46-48" waist, and had no energy or motivation. Now...11 months later...I am 194 lbs, lost nearly 10" off my waist and had my BMI drop over 8 points.
I am fit, I feel great, I have a ton of energy and it is all thanks to the guidance of you Jill. Thank you!!