“Healthy Hound” program to hold line on medical costs, improve member wellness

Greyhound Employees Getting Physical

Company and union create Healthy Hound program to hold line on medical costs, improve members’ wellness.

The overall medical report for Greyhound employees is not good. Chronic health problems, from high blood pressure and diabetes to heart disease and asthma, are on the rise. And, as we all know, work-related stress kicks those conditions up a notch.

Meanwhile, most Local 1700 members aren’t even taking advantage of basic wellness and preventive-care exams provided under the health plan. Unless something changes, sooner or later our members and families will feel the pain.

Help is on the way! The company and union have designed a program to protect and improve the overall wellness of Greyhound employees. Healthy Hound will hold down medical premiums for participants who do the right things, while those who don’t will pay a price.

The carrot: Members who complete at least one of the following three activities for improving their health before this October will be eligible for the lowest medical premiums for 2014. The stick: Those who don’t will pay a $240 annual surcharge on top of next year’s premiums.

To avoid a surcharge, you must complete at least one of the following:

  • Three phone calls with a Cigna Health Advocate to address a chronic medical condition;
  • One routine annual wellness exam; or
  • Submit an online Cigna Personal Health Assessment with current biometric information (height, weight, waist size, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol).

Local 1700 is committed to improving our members’ health, and union stewards will pay a major role in making Healthy Hound a success. Stewards will answer coworkers’ questions about the program and issues the Health and Welfare Fund faces, and about exercise and nutrition. They will be one part educator, one part cheerleader, and one part personal trainer.

Early awareness is the best defense against diseases gaining irreversible footholds. Seventy percent of chronic diseases are preventable or reversible, but success often depends on early treatment. Preventive screenings can significantly lower the cost as well as the pain of illnesses if they are caught early.

Union-approved networks pay 100% of the cost of colonoscopies, mammograms and Pap smears, as well as childhood immunizations and well visits. (The co-pay does apply.)

Participants can take one of their paid sick days per year for a wellness exam, so no one has to lose a day’s work. And the waiting period for sick leave pay has been reduced from three days to just one day for members who document their annual physical exam.