State of Nebraska wins Innovation Award for unique integrated wellness plan approach

MINNEAPOLIS, MN Oct. 5, 2011—The State of Nebraska, a HealthFitness client, was awarded the 2011 Innovations Award from The Council of State Governments for its breakthrough program that inspires some 18,000 state employees and 6,000 spouses to get active, lose weight and become proactive about preventive care.

The Innovation Award is given for the development and implementation of exemplary programs so the successful ideas and experiences can be applied to other states. Two award winners are selected from applications each year in the Midwest region. The award recognizes newness, creativity, effectiveness, transferability and significance.

The State of Nebraska’s award-winning initiative began in 2009, when the state launched “wellnessoptions,” a fully integrated wellness program with lifestyle and chronic condition management aspects designed to encourage healthy behaviors. The Wellness PPO health insurance plan features 100 percent coverage of preventive health care, lower premiums and value-based health and prescription programs. HealthFitness supports the program with annual health risk assessments, on-site biometric screening, health coaching and lifestyle programs.

State employees have the option of enrolling in the Wellness PPO and paying a lower premium rate, or they can choose from a selection of more traditional health benefit plans with higher premiums. But the Wellness PPO has proactive eligibility requirements—employees and covered spouses (if applicable) must complete wellness program activities. The program enjoys strong support from Gov. Heineman, a Wellness PPO member.

“The State of Nebraska has taken a truly innovative approach on behalf of its employees to encourage prevention and healthy behaviors and giving them the resources to achieve their personal health goals,” said HealthFitness President and CEO Paul Lotharius. “The program’s positive outcomes show that investing in employee health produces healthier, more productive workers and can lower the health care cost trend.”

Nebraska is among the first states to offer an integrated plan for health coverage tied to prevention and wellness; it was initiated after years of double-digit cost increases. Already, the program is reaping results: Thousands of cases of previously undetected diabetes, cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure were identified through free preventive screenings. By catching health problems early, health care utilization is reduced and long-term costs are lower. And rather than experience double-digit year-over-year health care cost increases, the state recently experienced an overall health care cost increase of less than 1 percent.

About HealthFitness
HealthFitness, a subsidiary of The Trustmark Companies, is an award-winning, NCQA-accredited provider of health, fitness and condition management solutions. With 30-plus years of experience, HealthFitness partners with employers and health plans to effectively manage health care and productivity costs by improving individual health and well-being. HealthFitness provides a portfolio of solutions, including best-in-class integration, condition management, INSIGHT® Health Risk Assessments, screenings, EMPOWERED® Health Coaching and fitness facility design and management. For more information on HealthFitness, visit

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