In 2007, King County, Washington State, launched an intensive employee wellness and patient compliance effort targeting its 14,000 employees. Given the size of its workforce, health care was a significant cost center. According to Dow Constantine, the County’s top executive, “We were being eaten alive by runaway medical costs.”
In response, the County invested in a program that incented employees to change their behavior. After obtaining labor union support, the County invested nearly $7 million over the first two years developing the program and conducting employee outreach and education.
According to Constantine, the upfront investment saved the County over $46 million in the first five years (2007-11). “Our success was due in part to financial incentives we offered our employees,” says Constantine. “The effort returned $61 million in surplus health care funds to the county.”
Read more on the cost of health benefits on IndustryWeek.