Nationwide Receives IBI/NBCH Healthy Workforce Productivity Award

Feb. 23, 2009
The Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) and the National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH) has honored Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. with the 2009 IBI/NBCH Healthy Workforce Productivity Award at their Health & Productivity Forum held Feb. 9-11 in Los Angeles. The award recognizes leadership in the area of health and productivity and honors an employer that has worked with its employees to develop, implement and measure an innovative health and productivity initiative.

"The goal of this meeting is to feature the latest practical approaches to investing in and promoting both the health and productivity of the workforce," said Thomas Parry, PhD, president of IBI, and co-host of the forum with Andrew Webber, president and CEO of NBCH. "We appreciate Nationwide sharing information on their successful program and congratulate them on this recognition."

Nationwide's My Health program is a comprehensive health and wellness program designed to promote healthy living for all of its associates. The initiative includes a health assessment, lifestyle behavior coaching, integrated absence/disability/workers' compensation/disease management, health advocacy/education, occupational health clinics, walking programs, free/discounted fitness centers and employee assistance/behavioral programs. Most important is that the program doesn't stop at health promotion, but also evaluates the lost time and productivity improvements from the interventions.

In addition to conducting multiple surveys and focus groups across the organization to gain feedback on the program structure and offerings, Nationwide regularly communicates to a group of associate My Health Champions who provide support at the local level and are charged with positively spreading the word about the program to other associates. They also request testimonial stories from associates who achieved positive results from the program.

The program has led to higher associate enrollment and participant completion rates. The trend has been an increase of 10 to 12 percent in participation each year over the last 7 years. In 2007, participation increased 5 percent and resulted in a total medical spend savings of $5.3 million. For absence and disability case management, Nationwide estimates that it saved 75,665 disability days for a cost savings of $16.3 million and improved health-related work place productivity by 22 percent.

Kathleen Herath, associate vice president of Health & Productivity for Nationwide, said, "Healthier associates are more productive and, in the end, that leads to lower health care costs for our associates and the company. This program helps us ensure that every individual receives the best care available and works to improve their overall health and well-being."
About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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