Bio­met­rics re­warded

Anna Jaques sees healthy re­sults from new PPO

Modern Healthcare - - Special Section -

Health in­surance premi­ums were shoot­ing up 15.2% an­nu­ally from 2002 to 2007, dou­bling to­tal pre­mium costs to $7 mil­lion at 123-bed Anna Jaques Hos­pi­tal in New­bury­port, Mass. So hos­pi­tal man­age­ment col­lab­o­rated with the Mas­sachusetts Nurses As­so­ci­a­tion to im­ple­ment a new plan, avail­able to all em­ploy­ees, which has held cost in­creases to 5.6% an­nu­ally over three years.

The la­bor-man­age­ment col­lab­o­ra­tion in cre­at­ing the new HSA Saver Plan, a PPO that has brought in 43% of el­i­gi­ble sub­scribers and en­joyed a 99% re­ten­tion rate to date, has earned Anna Jac­ques Hos­pi­tal the Spirit of Ex­cel­lence Award for Team.

The plan comes with daunt­ing-at-first­glance de­ductibles of $1,200 for in­di­vid­u­als and $2,400 for two-per­son or fam­ily plans. But the hos­pi­tal kicks in as much as $1,000 or $2,000, re­spec­tively, for those who meet at least three out of four bio­met­ric health mea­sures: non­smoker, blood pres­sure of 140/90 or lower, choles­terol of 160mg/dl or lower, and body mass in­dex of 29 or lower. And the plan en­ables em­ploy­ees to cre­ate pre­tax health sav­ings ac­counts, which can be rolled over from year to year.

“The biggest con­cern of staff around here was the de­ductible,” says Lisa Cyr-Wil­mot, co-chair of the nurses’ bar­gain­ing com­mit­tee. “It took a huge amount of re­in­force­ment for them to un­der­stand that if you meet your bio­met­ric (mea­sures), the hos­pi­tal pays most of the de­ductible.”

The health re­sults have been rapid, says Stephen Salvo, vice pres­i­dent of hu­man re­sources, cit­ing em­ploy­ees who have found out they had high blood pres­sure and are now tak­ing med­i­ca­tion, or oth­ers who have quit smok­ing or lost weight to qual­ify for the in­cen­tives. “I’m not go­ing to say they’re easy,” he says, “but with a lit­tle work, you can get there.”

Em­ploy­ees ben­e­fit from meet­ing three out of four bio­met­ric health mea­sures.

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