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The University of Michigan is engaged in a variety of innovative initiatives, research efforts and programs to help contain rising health care costs, improve health care delivery and promote a culture of health. This site describes efforts currently underwayand how they hope to positively impact the health of our community, the design and viability of our benefit plans, and the economic health of the institution.
Many employers today are providing monetary incentives to reward people who commit to maintaining good health and managing medical conditions by getting regular check-ups and working to control chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.
The University of Michigan is considering this type of plan – a member-engagement health plan – as a way to encourage healthy living and reward you for taking part.
What is a member engagement health plan?
Member engagement health plans integrate health and wellness into the plan design by rewarding healthy behaviors - typically with lower premiums or copays. This type of plan can provide you with an opportunity to take an active role in managing your health and wellbeing in ways that can improve your outlook, energy and quality of life.
How these types of plans work
When you enroll in these types of plans, you typically need to complete a health risk questionnaire, see your primary care physician, and follow your doctor’s recommendations for wellness. In exchange for your efforts, you typically receive lower-cost premiums or reduced co-pays on office visits.
With these types of plans, you have access to the same doctors and hospitals whether you choose to participate in the wellness aspects or not - but you receive a reduced premium when you agree to manage your health or pay a higher premium if you choose not to.
Focus on wellness
The university hopes such a plan would help to reduce the most prevalent preventable health risks among university faculty and staff. Chief Health Officer Dr. Robert Winfield says such a health plan would likely focus on some of the health risks identified by the MHealthy Wellness Assessments completed by many U-M employees over the past several years.
“I think we’d want to focus initially on health risks that can play a key role in the development of chronic or disabling illness,” says Winfield. “Smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes are all examples of behaviors and conditions that can contribute to significant long-term health problems when left unchecked, and there are steps we can each take to help control these.”
Guiding principles for plan design
“We intend to design this plan keeping in mind the same guiding principles we apply across all of our plans,” explains Thomas. “These include quality, affordability, choice and remaining market competitive. With a new plan, we also want to create easier, more rewarding ways for faculty and staff to be engaged in achieving and maintaining the best health possible.”
Good health is its own reward, but an member-engagement health plan adds extra incentive
By recognizing your efforts to manage your health with cost savings and other rewards, a U-M member- engagement health plan could support your personal health and wellness goals while helping to build a culture of health at the University of Michigan.
Email address for comments, questions and suggestions: MEHPquestions@umich.edu