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Third Annual Statewide Wellness Competition Awards Announced; WOWIEs draw increased competition from 40 companies

August 07, 2012

Companies demonstrate employee wellness programs save money of health care costs

Oak Brook Terrace, IL — Seven companies, divided into two categories, were recognized today for their excellent employee wellness programs that demonstrated savings in premiums and improvement in employee productivity. The award competition, called the WOWIES, is an annual competition sponsored by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and the Illinois State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management.

The WOWIE award recognizes employers who champion the health of their employees and strive to create a work culture that promotes physical activity. Awards were presented at ILSRHM's 13th Annual Human Resources Conference and Exposition held at Drury Lane in Oak Brook Terrace, IL.

Winners in the More than 200 Employees category are:
Platinum: Rockford Park District, Rockford, IL
Gold: State Farm Insurance, Bloomington, IL
Silver (tie) Advocate Health Care, Oak Brook, IL
Country Financial, Bloomington, IL

Under 200 Employees:
Platinum: Alper Services LLC, Chicago
Gold: GFX International,
Silver: Robinson Engineering, South Holland, IL

Highlights of the winning entries included:

  • Platinum winner Rockford Park District's 2012 First quarter health care costs are two thirds the costs of its 2011 tab, owing to its commitment to an employee-wide wellness program that included commitment to weight loss and exercise.
  • State Farm's Tobacco cessation program, Quit For Life®, was implemented in 2008. For every dollar spent on the program, the insurer now realizes a $7.76 savings. Based on our 2011 Wellness Assessment results, State Farm realized a 4.7% positive net change in employee health risk status.
  • Silver Winner Country Financial touted a second straight year without a health insurance premium increase, attributed to its comprehensive wellness initiative, Live Well Work Well (LWWW).
  • Advocate Health Cares Healthe program documented decreased depression, improved physical activity, improved skin protection and reduced smoking rates among the nearly 40 percent of employees who participated. In its weight loss tracking, Advocate employees lost a combined 16,519 pounds!

Among employers with under 200 employees, Alper Financial, a 44-employee insurance broker in Chicago, experienced a huge success with it employee wellness program with an 81 percent of employees using the program, up from 61 percent in 2010 and 43 percent of its employees lost weight and 66 percent of its employees improved their exercise capacity and frequency of exercise.

GFX International, a design & execution firm for retail communication in Grayslake, IL, hosted a Biggest Loser Challenge, in which 44 employees lost a total of 287.6 pounds in 12 weeks. This program, along with other measures and health efforts resulted in health care premiums without an increase over 2011 rates.

South Holland, Ill-based civil engineering firm Robinson Engineering—the 2011 WOWIE Winner, realized a 10 to 1 return on investment for its employee wellness program, which has been in place since 2007.

"More and more employers and human resources professionals have come to realize that employee wellness programs are excellent ways to promote positive health care behaviors and create more productive workers and employees," said Donna Rogers, director of ISC-SHRM.

"These companies have reduced health care costs, increased participation in their wellness programs and improved their employee's health," Rogers said.

The Illinois State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management (ISC-SHRM) is dedicated to serving the needs of SHRM chapters in Illinois by representation to SHRM and assistance in achieving each SHRM Illinois chapter's highest potential. ISC-SHRM promotes professionalism in human resources and adds value to the SHRM membership. The ISC-SHRM Board is made up of volunteer representatives across Illinois who serve to advance the human resources profession.

Our purpose is to support over 12,800 human resources professionals in Illinois who are either members of SHRM Illinois chapters or members of SHRM by providing timely and relevant information, ongoing professional development opportunities and intra-state communication regarding issues of interest in the field of human resources.

For more information, visit ILSHRM on the web at http://www.ilshrm.org/ 

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
With more than 7 million members, BCBSIL, a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, is the largest health insurance company in Illinois. Started in 1936, BCBSIL is committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and its communities through accessible, cost-effective, quality health care. BCBSIL is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.