Ohio county introducing new incentive program

by: Nichole Gunn May 14, 2012

In an effort to reduce insurance costs and promote a happy, productive and fit work atmosphere, county commissioners in one Ohio county are taking action.
According to a report from The Urbana Daily Citizen, Champaign County commissioners have agreed to move forward with an employee incentive program that addresses these issues and others.
The commissioners agreed to a $100 incentive per county employee and their spouse provided they take part in preventive health screenings and meet other benchmarks that serve to create an employee base that is healthy. Doing so would reduce the county's costs associated with providing health insurance and other benefit lines.

"The whole idea behind it was to encourage healthier employees and also as a way to control insurance costs," Susan Helterbran, wellness coordinator for Champaign County, told the news source. "If you've got healthier employees that are more proactive about their health then it lowers insurance costs."

She added this is the first year that county has offered an incentive program. It was created by the County Employee Benefits Consortium of Ohio, which is also the county's insurance provider.

"This was something that CEBCO really encouraged counties to do with the grant funds to include some kind of incentive program to encourage employees to get their preventive screenings and exams and tests," Helterbran added, telling the news source that the preventive health screenings will vary by age, gender and other factors.

Not all incentive programs offered by government employers prove successful. The federal General Services Administration recently suspended an employee awards program due in part to allegations that those who started the program were the ones benefiting the most from it. The Hats Off program was designed to reward workers with points that could be redeemed for gifts and other prizes, but investigators for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee shut it down after managers were determined to be skimming from the top.

“The Hats Off award program degenerated into a taxpayer funded giveaway where employees handed out iPods to their office buddies for almost any reason,” said Representative John Mica, a Florida Republican and chairman of the House Transportation Panel. “Not surprisingly, the inspector general’s report identified the supervisors who ran the Hats Off store as the biggest winners of taxpayer swag.”


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