Keeping employees healthy for lower health-care costs

By Joe Bennett

March 27, 2013 Updated Mar 27, 2013 at 6:42 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- CVS now requires employees to receive a health screening, assessing their weight, height, body fat and cholesterol levels.

While health-based health insurance is not a new concept, the CVS plan is highlighting the controversy around it.

One global company with Peoria headquarters encourages its employees to be healthier.

To consumers, Maui Jim is known for providing sunglasses and beach wear.

For its employees, the company says it provides an all-around better well-being.

"We think it makes for them to be happy, to be healthier and to be more productive at work," according to Vice President of Human Resources Rhonda Bessert.

The company's insurance plan is based on a voluntary wellness program.

A third party performs a confidential wellness screening through a blood draw.

"And that then evaluates a variety of different health risks: cholesterol, glucose, it checks blood pressure," Bessert says.

The third-party vendor then sets goals for employees on a volunteer basis.

Those who meet their goals will receive a ten-percent discount on their medical insurance premiums.

Employees, like Amy Balensiefen, say they are happy with their personal results as well as the resources provided by Maui Jim.

"I think it's great, because I have a sit down job all day long,” says Balensiefen. “So getting in here and even walking on the treadmill, just to have that ability maybe on my break or my lunch."

Maui Jim also provides a voluntary consultation room for its employees, so there are no excuses if one can't meet their wellness goals.

The company even provides free training in classes such as Yoga, Pilates, or cardiovascular.

Cherie Mitzelfelt once worked for Maui Jim as a supervisor.

Now she is a licensed fitness instructor.

She has since returned to the company as an independent Yoga trainer.

Mitzelfelt says, "They honestly try to offer something for every employee that's in here, for them to make an effort to try and get into the gym and have assistance"

Bessert says the overall goal is for employees to maintain a healthy life style.

In that sense the company views their health benefits as beneficial for all, keeping their insurance plan at a lower cost while increasing their employees' productivity and well-being.

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