The State of Colorado launches Employee Wellness Program

DENVER, CO — Monday, July 1, 2013 — Governor John Hickenlooper, State Personnel Director Kathy Nesbitt and community partners launched the State of Colorado employee wellness program today to encourage state employees to more actively engage in their health and ultimately stabilize healthcare expenses.

“As one of the largest employers in the state, we have a unique opportunity to improve the health of state employees and lead the way as a wellness-focused employer,” said State Personnel Director Kathy Nesbitt. “The ultimate goal of the program is to be a leader in making work environments across the state, including our own, conducive to choosing healthy behaviors.”

The employee wellness program is part of Governor Hickenlooper’s “The State of Health: Colorado’s Commitment to Become the Healthiest State,” a plan to make Colorado the healthiest state. The employee wellness program will generate significant savings, decrease costs associate with health and improve the health outcomes for a significant number of people through workplace health promotion and wellness.

The employee wellness program reflects input from stakeholders including the state’s employees’ unions, Colorado Workers for Innovations and New Solutions (Colorado WINS) and the Association of Colorado State Patrol Professionals (ACSPP), as well as the state’s health insurance companies, Kaiser Permanente and United Healthcare, who helped develop health strategies that incentivize wellness among state employees.

The voluntary program is available to all state employees and will begin with individual health assessments, department-based initiatives, health education and opportunities for state employees to develop personal wellness goals. Employees who participate in a state-sponsored health insurance plan are eligible to receive a credit of up to $20 per month toward their health insurance premium.

Based on wellness programs across the country, the state is projecting a fiscal return of at least $2.50 for each dollar invested and improved health outcomes for the workforce. In addition to reducing health plan costs, the wellness program will improve state employee attendance, productivity and morale. No tax-payer dollars are being used to fund the incentives associated with the program.