'Live Well' report shows employee health gains help manage costs
Friday, March 6, 2015

University of Iowa employees who participated in university-sponsored health initiatives last year report healthier eating, lower work absenteeism, and greater productivity on the job, factors that have helped keep health-insurance premiums at the same level for a third consecutive year, according to a UI report.

The UI “liveWell” 2014 annual report states that 73 percent of the university’s 17,000 faculty and staff participated in the “Personal Health Assessment,” an annual survey that measures individual health behaviors and trends, and includes tailored feedback to each respondent.

Among the key findings from the 2014 report:

• More than 2,600 faculty and staff use on-campus recreation facilities

• More than 3,000 faculty and staff used online modules to chart weight and stress management

• More than 700 faculty and staff completed a health improvement plan, through working one-on-one with with a university health coach

• 96 percent reported they are nonsmokers

• 66 percent said they eat healthy foods, meaning a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated and trans fats

• More than 40 percent report they’re at a healthy weight

The report also showed a majority of individuals, 64 percent, categorized themselves as ”low risk” which, in general, means they are less likely to miss time from work for illness or other health related reasons, boosting worker productivity overall.

LiveWell participants in the UI’s most common health insurance plan (UI Choice) had lower average adjusted health-care claims costs as well, according to the report.

This saves the university money, notes Susan Buckley, vice president for human resources at the UI.

“I am very proud of the health and wellness services offered through University Human Resources,” Buckley says. “These programs have had a significant impact related to improved health and quality of life for our faculty and staff. Services have also contributed substantially to our health care cost containment efforts, as demonstrated by a third consecutive year of zero percent health insurance premium increases.”

More information about the UI’s health and wellness programs and services can be found here.