July 30, 2013

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

HealthQuest recognized by foremost wellness expert

Award demonstrates innovation in State of Kansas employee health benefits program

TOPEKA, Kan. – The State of Kansas Employee Health Plan (SEHP) HealthQuest wellness program was recognized today by Dee Edington, PhD, founder and chairman of Edington Associates, LCC, for innovative measures to increase the number of state employees taking an active role in their health awareness and improvement. Those measures included launching a rewards program ahead of plan year 2013 in which employees can qualify for a $480 annual premium reduction.

The 2013 Edington Next Practice Award recognizes organizations that are actively engaged in the pursuit of a healthy, high-performing workforce and seeks to recognize the best, newest thinking. The State of Kansas earned the top post in the Recognition and Rewards category.

The SEHP and its HealthQuest wellness program are administered by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Division of Health Care Finance, with the program's policy set by the Kansas State Employees Health Care Commission (HCC). HealthQuest was established in 1988 by the HCC with the goal of improving the health of members and decreasing overall health care costs. As of July 2013 there are 34,357 State employees and 6,966 non-State employees enrolled in the SEHP, for a total of 41,323 active employees enrolled. With dependents included, the SEHP covers more than 99,000 lives.

"We are honored to receive the Edington Next Practice Award. Along with the Health Care Commission, we understand the importance of reinforcing a culture of health among employee groups. The HealthQuest incentives are aligned with our agency's mission to improve the health of Kansans," said Kari Bruffett, KDHE Health Care Finance Division Director. "Improving the health of the plan members will help reduce the number and severity of health insurance claims and will result in financial savings for the plan and the employees."

The HealthQuest rewards program includes a health assessment questionnaire and encompasses a wide variety of health awareness and improvement programs. The goal is to engage employees in a discussion about their health and wellness.

In conjunction with financial and employee services company CBIZ Inc., Edington Associates LCC identified a winner for the 2013 Edington Next Practice Awards in each of the five categories: Senior Leadership, Operational Leadership, Self-Leadership, Recognition and Rewards, and Quality Assurance.

"As the public and private sectors seek new approaches and solutions to solve our country's health care crisis, the Next Practice Awards recognize organizations that are actively engaged in the pursuit of a healthy, high-performing workplace and workforce," said Dr. Edington. "The awards specifically acknowledge companies that demonstrate unique approaches to improving the well-being of workplaces and employees and excel in innovation and initiatives."

The following companies join the State of Kansas in receiving a 2013 Edington Next Practice Award: Terracon Consulting Engineers (Senior Leadership), Westinghouse Electric Company LLC (Operational Leadership) and Heartland Health (Self-Leadership).

Participation in HealthQuest remains optional for SEHP members. The credit-based strategy drove an increase in the number of State employees who completed a health assessment, said Mike Michael, KDHE's SEHP director. Around 10,000 employees completed the health assessment in years 2010 and 2011. After the HealthQuest rewards program was implemented, the number of employees tracking their individual health status through the online assessment grew to more than 30,000.

"For plan year 2013, 75 percent of State and non-State employees took an important step toward making their health a priority in their life by participating in the HQ Rewards Program and earned the premium incentive discount," said Michael. "A recent analysis indicated that the risk-adjusted costs of those participating in the program were 15 percent lower than the risk-adjusted costs of those who did not participate. That equates to an approximately $3.7 million savings in medical costs for the program."

SEHP Staff with Dr Edington July 30 2013 |       Dr Edington Presenting Award to Mike Michael KDHE