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Healthcare PlexusCall - Healthy Incentives Improves Employee Health and Reduces Costs
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When: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
1-2pm eastern

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Healthcare PlexusCall
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 1-2pm ET
Topic: Healthy IncentivesSM Improves Employee Health and Reduces Costs
Guests: Kerry Schaefer

MP3 File

King County’s Employee Health and Well-Being Program (pptx) 

In 2005, King County, Washington was facing healthcare costs increasing at unsustainable rates. Working with union representatives, the county developed and implemented a new Healthy IncentivesSM benefit plan that rewards employees for changing their habits. Each year, employees who complete a health assessment and a ten-week action plan pay lower deductibles and co-pays. Action plans include physical activity, nutrition, weight management and stress management.

Through improved health of employees and use of higher quality health care, the county has reduced the rate of its health care trend from 11% to 6.2%, avoiding $46 million in costs. Engagement has been at or above 90 percent since the program began. Participants have lost 19 tons more than a national comparison group and the smoking rate has dropped below the national average from 12% to 5%.

Healthy IncentivesSM is a catalyst for improved employee health that curbs the use of costly health care. It also works to improve the quality of health care in the region through a region-wide collaborative, thus reducing ineffective and costly treatment. Ongoing analysis of data from over 13,000 employees and their families enables the benefit program to learn from experience and discover valuable insights about what works to improve health outcomes and reduce costs.

Kerry Schaeffer, Strategic Planner for Employee Benefits and Well-Being, will join the call to share what they are learning. Please bring your questions and your experience to this important call.

King County’s Healthy Incentives Program—history, details, toolkit

Health Incentives summary results


Kerry Schaefer is the Strategic Planner for Employee Benefits and Well-Being for King County, Washington. She has over 35 years of managerial experience in the full range of human resources services. In her current position, Ms. Schaefer is responsible for researching and proposing strategic and policy directions related to the county's employee benefits and worksite health promotion programs, and managing an array of programs including both insured and self-insured health benefits for over 13,000 employees and their families. King County is a highly unionized environment, and the development and implementation of benefit programs and selection of vendors is achieved through coalition bargaining with over 103 individual bargaining units.

Ms. Schaefer represents King County on the Puget Sound Health Alliance Purchaser Affinity Group, and is a member of the national Business Coalition on Health's eValue8 Purchaser Advisory Group. She also serves on the State of Washington Bree Collaborative, a consortium of public/private health care purchasers, carriers and providers working together to identify concerns with quality of and/or variation in health care and recommend evidence-based strategies for improvement. Ms. Schaefer has a Bachelor of Science in zoology from the University of Washington, and a Masters in counseling psychology from Chapman University.

Six years ago she took up fencing and now regularly competes in national level tournaments.

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