When Dan Dauphinee learned that a quarter of health care costs are due to unhealthy and unsafe behaviors, the operations manager made this pitch to the 140 employees of Northeastern Log Homes: Change your behavior, and we'll cut your insurance premiums by 25 percent.
The Kenduskeag, Maine, company is helping employees do that through its Healthy Lifestyles Program, which promotes exercise and health.
"We don't expect everyone to eat cardboard and drink water," Dauphinee said, "but 25 percent is a big number."
The company hired a local hospital to administer the program. Each employee can meet with a health coach (on company time) to assess health risks and devise a plan to replace risky behaviors. The hospital tracks employees' progress as they participate in group hikes, other exercises and educational seminars on topics like stress management and healthy eating. Spouses and adult children of employees participate, too.
Married employees can save $30 a week on health care premiums, and singles can save $11. About 80 percent of the company's employees participate.
The company budgets up to 4 percent of its total insurance-premium costs to cover the program, and it saw a quick payback: Insurance premiums rose only 3 percent last year, compared to 5 percent in 2004.
Contact: Dan Dauphinee, Northeastern Log Homes, at (207) 884-7000.