Nebraska cuts cost of employee health claims by millions

The Nebraska state government reduced employee health claims by $4.2 million over three years after introducing a wellness program that features 100% coverage of preventive health care and lower premiums.

The effort led Nebraska to become the first state to win the C. Everett Koop National Health Award, which recognizes both health improvements and resulting cost savings.

Nebraska’s “Wellness Options” program was one of the first state efforts to tie a wellness initiative to health plan coverage. Return on investment: For every $1 spent on the program in 2011, $2.70 was returned in health care savings through a 3% reduction among program enrollees. Savings came from improved lifestyles, fewer emergency room visits and hospital admissions and shorter hospital stays.

Twice as many employees complete preventive screenings than before the program began in 2009. The program helped detect more than 500 cases of early-stage cancer, resulting in early treatment.

More than 13,500 employees and retirees—plus 7,000 spouses—participate in the program.

BP Handbook D

Contact: Sandy Mau of HealthFitness, (703) 394-5396.