Meritain Health Launches New Communication Tools to Engage Employees in Workplace Wellness

Friday, August 24, 2007 General News
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BUFFALO, N.Y., Aug. 23 Meritain Health today announced thelaunch of a series of new communication tools to educate health plan membersabout its Healthy Merits wellness program, as well as to encourage and promotehealthier lifestyles. Meritain's new multimedia education plan goes beyondenrollment materials to continuously engage and educate employees about healthand wellness, as well as to encourage them to access the numerous programs andeducational resources offered through Healthy Merits.

Healthy Merits is a total population management solution that enablesemployers to lower their healthcare costs, reduce absenteeism and increaseproductivity. Healthy Merits provides members with six core programs includingManaged Metrics, Physically Fit, Nicotine Free, Health Aware, DiseaseManagement and Educational Tools and Resources. The program includes onsitehealth screenings, weight loss, fitness and smoking cessation programs, andaccess to health coaches to motivate members in their designated programs --providing additional, expert support.

"Education and communication are critical with any benefits program, andeven more so when implementing a wellness program," said Janice Rahm, SeniorVice President of Product and Service Innovation for Meritain Health. "TheHealthy Merits communication tools provide extensive educational resources toengage employees in the program and motivate them to lead healthierlifestyles."

The Healthy Merits Web site is available to employees to navigate througheach part of the six-pronged program. The site also provides health andwellness information, access to an online health coach, as well as programinformation specific to their Healthy Merits program including incentives forparticipation.

Meritain Health launched Healthy Merits this spring to provide companieswith an effective solution to rapidly escalating healthcare costs. With theknowledge that 74 percent of diagnosed illnesses are preventable(1), MeritainHealth, the country's largest independent provider of services for self-fundedhealth plans, created a comprehensive program based on the belief thatpreventing illness is the most effective strategy to reduce healthcare costs.On average, employers can expect to show an annual return of $600 for every$100 invested in employee wellness programs(2). The success of shifting anemployee from a high health-risk category to a low health-risk category cansave an employer more than $3,000 per year(3).

Healthy Merits is a trio of complementary services that provide wellnessmanagement, disease management and comprehensive educational tools andresources to members. Meritain Health's wellness consultants work withemployers to build a customized wellness program specific to the needs of itsemployees.

About Meritain Health

Meritain Health is the nation's largest independent provider of servicesfor self-funded health plans. Meritain Health serves over 1,400 self-fundedclients and over a million members nationally. The company provides planadministration, innovative wellness, medical management, disease management,network management, and cost management services. Meritain Health is also apioneer and now the leading independent provider of Consumer Directed HealthPlans. Meritain Health employs over 1,350 people, with headquarters inBuffalo, N.Y., and regional offices in 28 cities across the country. For moreinformation, visit http://www.meritain.com.

(1) Purdue University study, 2006.

(2) "Employee wellness programs can help trim medical costs," ChamberReport, May 3, 2006.

(3) "Small steps through a wellness program can lead to big benefits,"Faist, Allyson, Houston Business Journal, July 7, 2006.

This release was issued through eReleases(TM). For more information,visit http://www.ereleases.com.Media Contact: Kerry O'Neill (410) 902-5035 koneill@mghus.com


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