Wellpower is a comprehensive health promotion program offered to Unum employees, retirees and family members. The Wellpower Program’s goals include promoting the health and well-being of employees and their families, contributing to a productive and positive work environment, focusing on customer needs and providing innovative solutions to evolving health promotion and disease and disability prevention need- as Unum’s employee population grows older. Wellpower is committed to providing programs that are cost-beneficial and cost-effective.
Narrative Description of Program
Wellpower is a comprehensive health promotion program offered to Unum employees, retirees and family members. The Wellpower Program's goals include promoting the health and well-being of employees and their families, contributing to a productive and positive work environment, focusing on customer needs and providing innovative solutions to evolving health promotion and disease and disability prevention need- as Unum's employee population grows older. Wellpower is committed to providing programs that are cost-beneficial and cost-effective.
The Wellpower Program uses education, a fitness facility, screening and policy to achieve its goals. Education programs include parenting, nutrition, weight and stress management, financial planning, coping with change, self-defense, car-seat installation, AIDS and women's health. The Facility encourages regular exercise with a 10,000 sq ft facility that includes cardiovascular equipment, weights and 32 aerobic classes a week. Wellpower also offers non-facility based exercise; intramural sports, stretch breaks, walking, gardening and a track team which has won national corporate championships four times. Blood pressure and cholesterol screening are offered throughout the company and fitness evaluation for members of the Facility. Finally, Wellpower's reimbursement policy pays for half the cost of health promotion programs. Wellpower implemented Unum's non-smoking policy in 1986, one of the first companies in the country to do so.
The Wellpower Program is staffed, in-house, with a Director of the overall program who holds an MSPH, four exercise physiologists and an administrator. In addition, Wellpower runs an internship program and hires consultants to teach aerobics and a variety of health education programs. Seventy-five percent Wellpower's budget of is funded by Unum America and the other 25 percent is funded through employee fees.
Unum's comprehensive health promotion program also includes Occupational Health and Safety, which has successfully reduced injury and workers compensation costs through case management and education which promotes good posture, lifting technique and prevention of repetitive use injury. In addition, Unum's Human Resources enhances employee health with an EAP, credit counseling, on-site child care, child and elder-care referral and benefit plans that encourage seat belt use and non-smoking, as well as policies that promote work/home balance. Unum America has been honored by Working Mother magazine as one of the best companies for working women.
Unum's Wellpower Program has successfully enhanced the health of Unum employees. Several studies have shown significant reductions in smoking, significant increases in seat belt use and maintenance of healthy exercise and weight. A cost benefit analysis of 1993 and 1994 claims data found that Wellpower participants were 25 percent less likely to file a medical claim than non-participants. The average cost per claim for Wellpower participants was $929, compared to $1226 for non-participants, a significant difference. Unum estimates that the cost savings per Wellpower participant per year are $322, or a savings of $1.81 for every dollar invested in health promotion.
Unum's Wellpower Program won the Health Action Leadership Award in 1990 from Kelly Communications (best overall program, < 5000 employees), a Buckle Up America Award in 1991 from the American Coalition for Traffic Safety, the 1993 Business and Industry Award for Corporate Based Programs ( > 1000 employees) from the Association for Worksite Health Promotion and received an honorable mention in the 1994 C. Everett Koop National Health Awards and won a 1995 C. Everett Koop National Health Award.
Unum America is an affiliate of Unum Corporation (NYSE:UNM), the Nations leading provider of disability insurance products and services and a provider of employee benefits, long term care and retirement products.
For more information, contact:
Susan Olson, MSPH
Director, Medical Programs, Finance and Planning
2211 Congress St, W317
Portland, ME 04122
|Company Name and Address
|UNUM of America2211 Congress St., W317
Portland, ME 04122
|Susan J. Olson, MSPH(207) 770-2516
|Total number of individual participants
|Number of currently actively enrolled
|Number of companies/groups involved
|Access to Program
|All UNUM employees, family members (partners) and retirees
|Cost per participant per year
|Estimated cost savings per participant per year
|Data available to external reviewers or investigators
|Program targeted at Healthy People 2000 goals
|Program goals (in priority order)
|(1) Risk factor reduction(2) Cost-benefit
(3) Health outcome improvement
Narrative Description of Evaluation Results
Wellpower Random Survey, Fall 1993
In November 1993, Wellpower sent a survey assessing health behaviors and opinions on the Wellpower Program, to 1202 randomly selected UNUM of America Duncanson and Holt and UNUM Corporation PortIand, Maine employees. 718 surveys were returned a response rate of sixty percent. Twenty seven percent of the respondents were male, 73 percent female. The average age was 37 years old. It is clear, looking over the age distribution since 1985 (the inception of the Wellpower program) that employees are getting older, with a larger proportion of employees over 35 than when the program began. (See Appendix, Table 1)
The Wellpower survey asked respondents about their exercise, smoking, stress, weight, seat belt use, blood pressure and cholesterol and participation in WelIpower. Wellpower has surveyed employees several times since the program began in 1985. This report will compare survey data from 1985, 1991 and 1993.
The following assessment of program strengths and weaknesses has been abstracted from reviews by the Task Force on Program Selection of The Health Project. Where weaknesses are postulated, it must be taken into account that the review Task Force is very critical, that no programs are perfect, that the Award Winning programs have been selected from over 300 candidate programs and represent the very best, that the materials reviewed may have been incomplete, that suggested deficiencies may have resulted from incomplete understanding of the program by the reviewers or that any problems may have been corrected since the time of review.
UNUM of America's "Wellpower" program saves $1.8 per $1 through education on parenting, nutrition, weight and stress management, self defense, AIDS and women's health; regular exercise; blood pressure and cholesterol screening; smoking cessation; fitness evaluation and links with their "Occupational Health and Safety" program. Wellpower participants claims were 76 percent of the average for non-participants.
This is a serious comprehensive effort at health improvement and cost reduction. There is good internal integration involving occupation health and safety, benefits, and EAP. There is cost sharing. Claims analyses provide objective data. Smoking rate down to 11 percent is an excellent result. There is a well-articulated strategy, goals and objectives. This is one of the most comprehensive corporate wellness programs in America. Changes in health habits and risk factors over a ten year period are well documented. Documented cost-benefit evaluation has been done and is ongoing. All employees are eligible. There is a very wide range of program topics. Participation rates are good. Employees are satisfied with the programs. The programs support Healthy People 2000 goals and objectives. There is strong evidence for behavior change and cost-savings through evaluation of direct medical costs. Participants spend fewer health care dollars than non-participants.
Evaluation design of participants versus non-participants and trends over time with parallel national trends is a quasi-experimental design although a strong one. The "healthy worker" effect is not discussed. Interpretations of some charts and bar graphs are not provided.