City considers health insurance changes

Published 9:20 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The City of LaGrange is considering a change to employee health credits that would be initially introduced in January 2018 and would take effect in January 2019.

The current system that the city uses gives employees credit for certain healthy living practices that are confirmed during the annual enrollment period. According to officials, the new system would encourage employees to maintain their health year-round.

“Over the past couple of years, we have talked about how we can change our program because what typically we have found is that employees are worried about their health results once a year,” Kelsey said.

“They’re not worried about it every day. They get very concerned about it in the fall and go see their doctors and get their bloodwork and make sure that everything is OK, and then they forget about it again until the next cycle comes around. We wanted to come up with an idea that we thought would be impactful on a daily basis instead of at a one year check.”

The program is the same system that WellStar West Georgia uses for its employees, and Councilmember Dr. Tom Gore, who works at WellStar Medical Group Cardiovascular Medicine, said that he has seen some of the hospital employees become truly committed to taking the steps required to earn credits with healthy practices.

The city hopes to see a similar results for its employees.

“Humana offers a program called Go365, and I don’t know if you are familiar with that, but it used to be called Vitality, and I think the hospital actually uses it,” City Manager Meg Kelsey said. “They have revamped it a little bit, and now they call it Go365, but it is a wellness and rewards program that incentivizes the employees to workout, go to the doctor, do their preventative care, have their vision checked.”

The program has been used in other city governments, and Assistant City Manager Teresa Taylor saw the program save a life when it was implemented in the City of Chamblee while she was working there.

“We started talking about the money that they could save if you bank 1,000 points until Thanksgiving then you can buy Christmas gifts, so we started doing little talks,” Assistant City Manager Teresa Taylor said.

“Well, one of the employees decided, OK let me look at this list of things I can do, and he went in for a preventative exam — because pap smears and that type of thing counts — and he actually had prostate cancer, and it was very, very aggressive.

The next week he had to go back and have surgery, and he became our story. He went to all the employees in every different department and went, ‘If I didn’t go just for that, I probably wouldn’t have known, and I probably wouldn’t be here anymore.’ He was very, very thankful.”

The video that the city council viewed explaining the program can be found at The LaGrange City Council is scheduled to meet again Dec. 12 at 5:30 p.m. at 208 Ridley Ave.