Wellness Programs Save Money, Nonprofit Group Argues

November 2, 2011
by Sophie Quinton
National Journal


Want to lower government health insurance costs? Try a wellness program.

The town of Hernando, Miss., saved $130,000 on its health insurance costs and negotiated lower premiums for its 115 employees by offering free screenings for high blood pressure and diabetes, free help for quitting smoking, and encouraging exercise, according to a Trust for America’s Health report released on Wednesday. The brief also highlighted state wellness initiatives in Indiana, Texas, and Minnesota and city initiatives in San Diego and Nashville.   

“The employer community is increasingly looking at this as an economic, business imperative,” Andrew Webber, president and CEO of the National Business Coalition on Health, told a Hill briefing about the report on Tuesday. Chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer affect more than half the American population, according to Trust for America’s Health, putting a big drain on both government health care providers and employers who need to provide insurance.


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