With benefits that go even beyond health plan savings and better health management
Rebecca Brown is a financial analyst who has worked in Riverside Health System's Department of Materials Management for more than 24 years. As someone specializing in supply chain management and working with a large system-wide network of interconnected parts, she's quick to see the relationship between the different components and benefits of her health plan and their role in her health and lifestyle. And one of the things she sees is that maintaining the links between personal health and the resources that support it requires some effort; but fortunately it's an effort that she believes pays off in the end.
The team member discussions in past issues of My Healthy Lifestyle have focused on health problems, some of them serious, which were brought to light because of participation in the annual wellness exam that also serves as a requirement for health plan discounts. What these past examples have illustrated is that while saving money on premiums – up to $600 – for creating and then managing a wellness plan is a good bonus, the chance to have a health concern diagnosed and successfully treated, particularly when it wasn't anticipated, is the even more important benefit.
Rebecca's experience was a little different. When she came to her wellness exam appointment she wasn't figuring on any unexpected news. And she didn't get any. What she did get is a reminder about the overall state of her health.
"I had knee surgery awhile back and I'm getting very close to needing the same procedure on the other knee. My other challenges are keeping my weight under control and getting my cholesterol lower. I'm aware of these issues and the annual exam confirms the need to keep pushing. It gives me some reinforcement for my ongoing work at making the lifestyle changes I know I need to make.
When I look at what I have to put into this effort it's really not very much for the return I get. I don't have any out of pocket expenses for the exam or the lab work that goes with it. Plus I have access to different forms of online help.
As someone who knows the expense of running a hospital at a time when reimbursements are rarely keeping up with costs, the annual exam is something I don't take for granted. In fact, I appreciate the fact that it's available and that I have a chance to be part of making my health better. And it really doesn't require much in terms of time either.
The thing is, I used to be a lot more active. At one time I used to do some fairly serious rafting. I'm over 50 now and more sedentary than I used to be. That's something I'm looking to change for the better, especially after my knee procedure. So for me the annual wellness exam gives me something to shoot for. It's a motivator that helps me in my personal health journey.
The way that the program is set up is something I really like, too. I don't have to meet someone else's standards in order to qualify for the savings. Instead I get to compete against myself. I just have to show some improvements in my own wellness plan and that makes sense to me."
Rebecca also sees a benefit in the chance to spend time with her primary care physician under circumstances that are different than other visits.
"For most of my life, if I've had a doctor's appointment it was for some specific problem or concern that I had. For the wellness exam, the whole purpose in being there is to look at my health in general and to work together to help me get where I need to go.
I feel like this is also a chance for me to really talk with my doctor about my goals. It's a chance to have a real dialogue about what matters to me and what I hope to be able to achieve. We talk about those kinds of things and we set goals. And I feel like we're able to do that together.
So I definitely don't look at the whole thing as drudgery. I get a clear picture of my health in terms of where it is and where it needs to be. I get a sense of the lifestyle changes that are involved. Like I said before, it's also a source of motivation for me. And I get a chance to save some money. All in all, I see that as a real opportunity."
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