Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

MHealthy Rewards to give employees $100 for healthy activities

MHealthy today launches its two largest programs, Rewards 2013 and Active U.

Faculty and staff can learn about their health and earn $50 by completing the annual health questionnaire, then earn another $50 for successfully completing Active U or other healthy activities.


More information

Sign up for Active U through Feb. 5.

Learn more about MHealthy Rewards.

Erica Ashe, a patient services associate in the Department of Hematology/Oncology, says she'll participate in both programs and may use the $100 to pay for her exercise classes.

"I take Zumba twice a week and body sculpting once a week, all through MHealthy," Ashe says.

Ashe says she wasn't always as conscientious about her health as she is today. Her wakeup call came five years ago when she was diagnosed with diabetes.

"My diabetes was out of control," Ashe says. "My doctor said that my heart couldn't sustain my then 400-pound weight and that I could die. But I was not ready to punch in my card. I started participating in MHealthy programs, exercising and eating healthier. I increased my physical activity and basically became a vegetarian. I've lost 165 pounds over the last two years and now I'm off the diabetes and high blood pressure medications."

A new opportunity of MHealthy Rewards 2013 is that spouses or other qualified adults (OQA) enrolled in a U-M health plan can also participate. No monetary incentive will be given to spouses/OQAs. However, they can register and receive discounts for health programs previously only offered to employees, and have the option to enter a drawing for a chance to win a $500 gift card.

"Evidence in the field of workplace wellness programs supports reaching out to spouses/OQAs of our faculty and staff," says LaVaughn Palma-Davis, senior director of University Health & Well-Being Services. "When one spouse improves a health behavior such as smoking, drinking, exercise and the use of clinical services, the other is more likely to do so as well and helps to maintain it. In addition, our recent U-M health culture survey found that a majority of faculty and staff would like their spouses and families to have access to MHealthy programs and services."

Rewards 2013

Qualifying benefits-eligible university faculty and staff can earn up to $100 (before-tax) for participating in Rewards:

• Complete the confidential health questionnaire by March 15 to get a personalized health report, develop an action plan and earn a $50 before-tax reward plus a chance to win a $500 gift card.

• Also complete one Rewards-eligible activity by July 12 to earn an additional $50.

The personalized health report assesses current health and potential risk areas, and provides information and resources to help minimize or prevent future health problems. Partifipants can then develop an action plan to achieve their personal health goals. Those who completed the health questionnaire in previous years will be able to compare their results year to year.

Dozens of healthy activities qualify for Rewards and the additional $50 incentive, including:

• Active U 2013.

• Individual and group stress management programs.

• Weight Watchers and MHealthy Weight Management programs.

• Nutrition consultations.

• Personalized exercise sessions.

• Department-level activities focused on nutrition and physical activity.

• Online educational programs.

• Tobacco treatment programs (these programs are eligible for a higher incentive).

A complete list of all eligible activities is available on the MHealthy website.

Active U

Registration for the eighth annual Active U, MHealthy's 12-week physical activity challenge, also opens today for two weeks only, Jan. 22-Feb. 5. Active U is open to all university faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, retirees and spouses/OQAs of employees. Last year, more than 10,000 people participated.

Participants have the option to sign up as part of a team or as an individual. Exercise minutes are logged in an online tracker.

Active U 2013 features include:

• Benefits-eligible employees can get $100 for successfully completing Active U and the Rewards health questionnaire.

• All participants will have opportunities to win prizes by logging activity each week.

• Successfully complete Active U to earn a 2013 T-shirt (free to employees; small fee for spouses/OQAs, undergraduate students and retirees).

• Get access to weekly healthy eating tips and healthy recipes.

• Earn virtual badges and share success by reaching program milestones such as achieving weekly goals, reaching 1,000 activity minutes and more.

• Help the university reach a record of 30 million cumulative physical activity minutes.

Palma-Davis says Active U registration was aligned with MHealthy Rewards to make it easier for eligible employees to participate in both programs.

"Most Active U participants are also eligible for MHealthy Rewards," says Palma-Davis. "By just taking 20 minutes to complete the health questionnaire, they will automatically get $50. Then when they complete Active U, they'll earn another $50.