When most people think of a university, they rightly think of students, teaching, learning, research, sports and other aspects of campus life. They likely don’t think of employee health insurance, retirement benefits and all of the other things related to the university workplace.
But, in reality, we are a workplace — one of the largest in our city — and we face many of the same economic challenges that other workplaces face.
One of those was employee health and pharmacy plan costs that increased 15 percent to 20 percent for several years straight. This wasn’t unusual, but it wasn’t acceptable. So we decided to do something about it.
In 2004, we stopped purchasing health insurance from three carriers each year and became self-insured. That means we pay only for the care our employees actually use-not for a third-party’s estimate of what we might use. We have saved $2 million to $3 million annually since then.
But to truly lessen rising health-care expenses, we knew we had to get to the root of the issue — employees’ health.
In 2005, we became one of the first universities in the country to start an employee wellness program. We call it Get Healthy Now. How simple is that?
Get Healthy Now provides courses on healthy eating, stress management and other wellness topics; lifestyle coaches who help faculty and staff work toward specific goals; and exercise facilities. We also have special programs each year — and through several walking programs have logged more than enough miles to get to the moon and back.
Faculty and staff have told us their success stories — they’ve quit smoking, become more active, are eating healthy foods and getting diseases, like diabetes, under control.
What they’ve told us also has shown up in hard numbers. For every $1 we spent on the program last year, we saw a $5 return on investment — and that makes Get Healthy Now a win-win program for all of us.
The courage to question convention.
The passion to break new ground.
The insight to champion community.
The imagination to pursue the undiscovered.
The will to achieve greatness.
The promise of a limitless future.
The people to bring it to life.
It's Happening Here.