Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New MHealthy Rewards program offers incentives for improving health

Continuing its efforts to help improve the health of the university community and, in the long-term, help contain rising health-related costs, MHealthy will launch its new Rewards program Jan. 25, awarding a $100 pre-tax incentive to qualifying, benefits-eligible faculty and staff who complete a confidential online health questionnaire and two eligible health and well-being activities in 2010.

Click here for more information on MHealthy Rewards and a list of eligible health and well-being activities.

“We are committed to taking care of our own by encouraging healthier lifestyles so our faculty and staff can live well and feel good for life,” says President Mary Sue Coleman. “We believe programs like these help contain rising health care costs, which benefits us all.”

“We’ve learned that a person can prevent or at least delay the onset of some diseases like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure through eating better, managing our weight and managing our stress,” says Dr. Robert Winfield, chief health officer for U-M. “In doing this, it not only impacts the quality of one’s life but also, very likely, the health-related costs for you and the university.”

The health questionnaire must be completed by April 9 in order to view a personal health report and be eligible to earn the $100 incentive for completing health and well-being activities.

MHealthy Rewards’ activities focus on five key risk areas: eating right/managing weight, moving more, being tobacco free, managing stress, and preventing and managing health conditions.

Active U is among the activities eligible for the Rewards program. “Nearly 10,000 people participate in Active U each year and, this year, completing the program means you’re halfway to your $100 reward,” says LaVaughn Palma-Davis, senior director of University Health & Well-Being Services.

Weight Watchers, MHealthy fitness consults, tobacco treatment programs, stress management series, visiting a physician for a preventive screening, and tracking eating habits or physical activity online also are among the dozens of MHealthy Rewards-eligible programs. Most activities are free to join and those with participation fees, like Weight Watchers, have been significantly reduced.

“We’ve included programs that fit into any lifestyle and may be things you are already doing like getting a flu shot, exercising regularly or eating well,” continues Palma-Davis.

Participation in MHealthy Rewards is confidential. The university has again contracted with StayWell Health Management, a national provider of health-improvement services, to administer the health questionnaire. Also, through a new StayWell Online feature called Points Bank, participants will be able to view their progress toward completing the Rewards program and qualifying for the $100 reward.