Geauga Count, Ohio, Cuts Healthcare Costs with Employee Wellness Program

by: Nichole Gunn January 17, 2011

Study after study, and case after case shows the health and financial benefits of employee wellness programs, and Geauga County, Ohio can be added to the list of success stories.

The County Employee Benefit Consortium of Ohio was created in an effort to curtail rising healthcare costs, and its wellness program saved Geauga County more than $2 million in healthcare premium costs over a three year period.

According to NewsHerald.com, Benefits Specialist Kathleen Hochstutler explained that the wellness program is voluntary, and employees who participated did not get an “increase in their contribution to their health care insurance, but those who did not participate in the program had a 20 percent increase in the amount they pay.”

This type of monetary incentive is motivating to employees; that along with a program that offers training sessions and medical examinations prompted many of the county's 610 employees to jump on board.

Hochstutler noted that if not for the wellness program, the increase in premiums would have been 23 percent, instead of the 9.8 percent increase they received. And, “due to prudent decisions by the commissioners, they were able to reduce that even further to 5.6 percent." She praised the program as the “best decision the commissioners ever made.”

Employees’ unhealthy lifestyles cost U.S. employers tens of billions of dollars extra in healthcare costs. The Geauga County employee wellness program is taking the bull by the horns and guiding employees to a healthier lifestyle, thereby cutting those costs.