UnitedHealthcare has launched “UnitedHealth Personal Rewards,” an innovative program that uses health scorecards to encourage healthy behaviors and target specific health actions using customized information, financial incentives and ongoing support for consumers.
UnitedHealth Personal Rewards uses personalized, secure online scorecards that serve as unique health care road maps for each consumer based on health status, lifestyle and personal health needs. The program offers customized health action plans and encourages regular care for people living with chronic illnesses. Incentives to participate include savings on an employee’s monthly premium, extra money for a health care account or one-time cash payments.
The scorecards help people track their progress and keep tabs on the health actions they can take in order to earn incentives. As individuals complete the actions, their point scores increase, making them eligible for greater rewards and potentially improved health, which may result in medical expense savings. Some actions, such as preventive doctor visits, are available to all participants, while others are customized to an individual’s life stage or health status, such as getting a mammogram or enrolling with a health coach.
UnitedHealth Personal Rewards is currently available to self-insured National Accounts and Public Sector employers with more than 3,000 UnitedHealthcare medical plan participants. Large companies including Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE: JLL) and The Hertz Corporation (NYSE: HTZ) have already implemented the program.
“UnitedHealth Personal Rewards is a personally tailored wellness program that encourages people to make positive health and behavior changes rather than waiting to treat illness,” said Sam Ho, M.D., chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual. “The program offers plan participants personalized health care road maps based on each individual’s unique health status and the needs of an employer’s population. By connecting specific actions with meaningful incentives, we’re confident we’ll be able to motivate healthier behaviors over the long term.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 50 percent of a person’s health status is a result of behavior – choices made each day with respect to physical and emotional well-being. CDC studies also show that nearly half of the health care decisions people make are “sub-optimal,” meaning an alternative choice may have led to a better clinical and/or financial outcome.
Jones Lang LaSalle, a Chicago-based commercial real estate services firm, was among the first companies to offer its employees UnitedHealth Personal Rewards in January. Park Ridge, N.J.-based Hertz rolled out its program, called A Credit to Your Health, to more than 15,000 of its plan participants in September, and UnitedHealth Group has been offering the program since January to its own employees and family members enrolled in the company’s health benefit plans.
“UnitedHealth Personal Rewards is attractive to us because it fits in with our business priorities and philosophy of empowering our employees to make personally relevant choices that can improve their health while helping to control their health care costs,” said Howard Futterman, vice president of benefits, Jones Lang LaSalle. “We’re able to provide a health management program that rewards all of our employees – regardless of their health status – with incentives that are tied to action and results.”
UnitedHealthcare estimates that a positive return on investment (ROI) can be seen as early as year two of the program. Jones Lang LaSalle is projecting a strong 2011 ROI for its Health Empowerment Program, of which UnitedHealth Personal Rewards is a key component. The company also expects a 10-percent improvement in its employees’ baseline biometric scores in 2011 compared with 2010.
“We wanted to incent and energize our employees to become more aware of and accountable for their own health,” said LeighAnne Baker, senior vice president and chief human resources officer for The Hertz Corporation. “Personal Rewards is about employees ‘owning’ their health decisions and taking the essential steps to get healthy, stay healthy and enjoy a better life.”
Recent UnitedHealthcare research confirms incentives drive better health behaviors. When offered incentives, individuals report that they are “extremely likely” or “very likely” to complete recommended preventive health care actions such as annual exams and cancer screenings, and enrolling in weight-management, disease-management or smoking-cessation programs.
In January, UnitedHealth Group began offering UnitedHealth Personal Rewards as a pilot program to its more than 90,000 employees and family members. So far:
UnitedHealthcare (www.unitedhealthcare.com) provides a full spectrum of consumer-oriented health benefit plans and services to individuals, public sector employers and businesses of all sizes, including more than half of the Fortune 100 companies. The company organizes access to quality, affordable health care services on behalf of approximately 25 million individual consumers, contracting directly with more than 600,000 physicians and care professionals and more than 5,000 hospitals to offer them broad, convenient access to services nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.