Mayor Rahm Emanuel's favorite phrase is the 'carrot-and-stick approach' - for an agreement he has finalized with unions to cut down on Chicago's $500 million-a-year health care costs by $240 million over four years.
The plan has been so nicknamed, because employees' and their dependents' monthly health insurance premiums will rise by $50 respectively unless they participate in a wellness program to manage chronic health problems.
The main issues being targeted are obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. The private-sector style plan was unveiled today.
Some city workers are already planning their workday, going for morning walks, sticking to their diets and stubbing out cigarettes. Employees and their dependents would be provided with enhanced screening and wellness training, so that they establish benchmarks and long-term goals, including weight loss, medication, exercise and kicking the smoking habit.
Workers would be screened on a bi-monthly basis by coaches to ensure they're meeting their health goals.