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Amesbury Joins Program to Improve Employee Health and Encourage Better Navigation of the Health Care System

CONTACT: Jenna McPhee
617-246-7412
Jenna.McPhee@bcbsma.com

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and MIIA Introduce 'Well Power'

BOSTON — October 5, 2010 — The Town of Amesbury is the first municipality in Massachusetts to participate in Well Power, a three-year program that's designed to help the city and its employees gain a better understanding of how to navigate the health care system, lead healthier lives and better manage health care costs.

The Well Power program was developed in partnership by the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association (MIIA), non-profit, member-driven insurance arm of the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA), and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA), a locally-based, community-focused health plan.

"We are fortunate to have some of the hardest working and most dedicated employees serving the people of Amesbury," says Mayor Thatcher Kezer. "Well Power is an important program that we believe will help keep our employees and their families healthier and happier. It's good for our workers and good for the city. We are proud that Amesbury is the first municipality in the state to participate in this initiative."

"As a member-driven organization, it is MIIA's role to partner with towns and cities, educate their employees and support them in making better health care choices," adds Ann Ludlow, MIIA Health Benefits Trust Manager. "Amesbury employees are active participants in MIIA programs and we are thrilled with their enthusiasm for Well Power. We look forward to a very robust and successful program."

The Well Power program, available at no additional cost to the town or its employees, rolled out in Amesbury late September through early October at several kick-off events for employees. Over the course of three years, participants will take part in several free programs including:

  • Personal health assessments — Private, online lifestyle and health assessments that identify health risks and offers advice on how to reduce them.

  • Educational sessions — Workshops on becoming savvier health care consumers, including making more informed decisions about the quality and cost of care.

  • Exercise, nutrition, stress reduction and weight loss programs — Activities to prevent disease and improve over all health.

  • On-site, on-line and telephonic support — Convenient resources to help employees understand their insurance benefits, find programs and doctors and stick to their goals as well as to obtain illness counseling from medical professionals.

The Well Power program uses personal and team incentives to encourage participation. Most employees can earn a $50 gift card if he or she takes three steps: complete a personal health assessment, attend a health care consumer session, and take part in at least one wellness initiative such as an exercise program. Employees are also assigned to one of six teams. The team with the highest participation of members who completed all three steps wins an additional $2,000 to be used to support the team's wellness efforts.

"We hope this unique incentive program will encourage our employees to take part in Well Power to help them not only improve their lifestyles, but also change how they approach the health care system," said Superintendent of Amesbury Schools, Dave Jack. "By being better educated health care consumers and working more closely with their primary care providers, we believe our employees will make decisions that lead them to high quality, more effective health care."

"The Well Power program combines wellness and member education in a way that leads to better health, while helping to manage the rising cost of health care for both the employer and member," said John Coughlin, Vice President of Select Markets for BCBSMA. "Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is committed to providing solutions that empower and educate members about the health care choices they make, so they can receive the right care, at the right time, in the right setting."

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (www.bluecrossma.com) was founded 73 years ago by a group of community-minded business leaders. Today, headquartered in Boston, BCBSMA provides coverage to nearly 3 million members. BCBSMA believes in rewarding doctors and hospitals for delivering safe and effective care, and in empowering patients to take more responsibility, become educated health care consumers, and become stronger partners with their doctors. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

The Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association (MIIA) is the non-profit insurance arm of the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA). The MIIA Health Benefits Trust provides health coverage for the employees and retirees of cities, towns and other governmental entities in Massachusetts that are members of the MMA. As a member-based organization, MIIA's only focus is to provide excellent service and quality risk management solutions to Massachusetts municipalities and related public entities. Municipal insurance its only business, MIIA insures nearly 400 cities, towns, and other public entities in Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.emiia.org and www.mma.org.

 

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