State health plan launches HealthySD.gov wellness program

State health plan launches HealthySD.gov wellness program Governor Rounds along with the State Employee Health Plan is introducing a new wellness program designed to help members and employees become more physically fit and healthier.

"Participation in the program may help members become aware of health care issues such as diabetes and obesity management," said Larry Kucker, director of employee benefits. "The State spent significant amounts in health care expenses related to obesity and diabetes in FY2003. By choosing a healthy

lifestyle, and joining the HealthySD.gov wellness program, a portion of these expenses could be prevented in FY2004."

The program called "HealthySD.gov" launched on Jan. 1. The program is a statewide wellness program that will assist members in setting goals to become more physically fit and healthier by maintaining their own personal diary and monitoring their success in the program. Employees, COBRA participants and retirees, along with their covered spouses who participate in the State Employee Health Plan can register and participate in the program.

By joining HealthySD.gov, members can be reimbursed for some of their medical out of pocket expenses such as deductibles and co-payments along with exercise equipment and membership fees to fitness and nutrition centers such as the YMCA, Curves for Women, or Weight Watchers.

Early detection of health care issues can help plan participants avoid unnecessary health claims and potentially save money for both the member and the plan.

"I really think this wellness program will be a great success for not only the Health Plan, but also for its 23,000 members," said Kucker. "By making this move to wellness, both the members and the state health plan come out winners."

Members not only reap the benefits of becoming more physically fit and healthier by changing their lifestyle � a long-term cost savings to the state health plan and ultimately the state's taxpayers will be realized," saidKucker.

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