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Wellmark First in Nation to Measure Well-Being of Health Plan Members & Employees
October 15, 2008

Nashville, TN – (Sept. 25, 2008) – Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, headquartered in Des Moines, IA and doing business in Iowa and South Dakota, is the first employer and health plan in the United States to engage in a well-being analysis of both its employees and plan members using the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

 

Healthways and Gallup today announced the results of analysis from the Index, which was introduced in January and shows that improved employee health and engagement lead to better individual and business performance.

 

Wellmark will be able to utilize the survey findings to identify opportunities to enhance the well-being of its customers and employees, thereby improving individual, family, employer, and community performance.

 

"We commend Wellmark for taking this initiative and for its efforts to improve the well-being of its members and employees. True leaders create change, and Wellmark has demonstrated its market leadership through its continuing commitment to health and well-being as an employer and on behalf of its members," said Ben Leedle, Jr., President and CEO, Healthways.

 

Wellmark results, which were compiled between July 28 and August 17, 2008, and included a survey sample of 1,465 members and employees, exceeded national and state benchmarks for both groups. When asked to rate their overall well-being on a scale of 1 – 10, Wellmark members averaged 8.20, while employees averaged 7.97 compared to the national benchmark of 7.11 and the Iowa and South Dakota benchmarks of 7.21 and 7.07, respectively.

 

When asked to describe their current health status, more than 80 percent of members and employees described their health as good, very good or excellent which is indicative of Wellmark’s history of being a pioneer in the provision of innovative programs for its customers.

 

"This is a crucial metric because all good things happen in the presence of high well-being," said Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton. "Our mission is to create new official statistics for leaders that report the state of employees’ health and well-being and to create solutions to transform and improve not only the work environment but also employees’ lives."

Additional findings:

  • Ninety percent of the Wellmark employees indicated a high degree of cultural support for well-being in their workplace as compared to 40% of Wellmark members indicating cultural support in their places of employment.
  • Individuals who are suffering or struggling have a tendency to have higher disease burden and more physical limitations. Improving the physical and emotional health of these individuals increases their overall well-being score.
  • Irrespective of disease status, individuals who are thriving will continue to do so as long as they can maintain their well-being and engage in behaviors to maintain their health.
  • Individuals in a high negative work environment indicate that their job impacts their health and these individuals are also more likely to be disengaged at work.

 

"Continuously improving the health and well-being of our members and the communities we serve is a key component of the Wellmark vision," said John D. Forsyth, Chairman and CEO, Wellmark. "The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index data will allow us to better meet the specific needs of our members and employees and realize our vision."

 

"Wellmark took an important first step in conducting this survey to set internal benchmarks for its members and its employees. They have seen the value of adding the new data provided by the Well-Being Index to create a full picture of the needs of its customers and employees," Leedle concluded. "The on-going evaluative nature of the Well-Being Index will provide continuing insights and data to health plans, governments, communities and employers to continuously measure the effects of their efforts to improve the health and well-being of their population."

 

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is the first and largest survey of its kind, with 1,000 completed surveys a day, seven days a week for 25 years. The Index is a daily measure determining the correlation between the places where people work and the communities in which they live, and how these and other factors impact well-being. Additionally, the survey data that makes up the Index will increase the understanding of how these factors impact the financial health of corporations and communities.

 

Health plans, employers, government, and individuals now have new data upon which to evaluate the impact of current programs and support the development of future services. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index provides non-traditional data that enables sponsors to better understand additional and critical factors that have been shown to have an important effect on health, its cost and productivity impact. There are six contributors to overall well-being of which health (physical and emotional) and work environment are major factors.

 

About Wellmark

Wellmark, Inc. (www.wellmark.com) does business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Wellmark and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, including Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., insure or pay health benefit claims for more than two million members in Iowa and South Dakota. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

 

About Healthways

Healthways, Inc. (NASDAQ: HWAY) is the leading provider of specialized, comprehensive Health and Care Support(SM) solutions to help millions of people maintain or improve their health and, as a result, reduce overall healthcare costs. Healthways' solutions are designed to help healthy individuals stay healthy, mitigate and slow the progression of disease associated with family or lifestyle risk factors and promote the best possible health for those already affected by disease. Our proven, evidence-based programs provide highly specific and personalized interventions for each individual in a population, irrespective of age or health status, and are delivered to consumers by phone, mail, internet and face-to-face interactions, both domestically and internationally. Healthways also provides a national, fully accredited complementary and alternative Health Provider Network, offering convenient access to individuals who seek health services outside of, and in conjunction with, the traditional healthcare system. For more information, please visit www.healthways.com.

 

About Gallup

Gallup has studied human nature and behavior for more than 70 years. Gallup’s reputation for delivering relevant, timely, and visionary research on what people around the world think and feel is the cornerstone of the organization. Gallup employs many of the world's leading scientists in management, economics, psychology, and sociology, and our consultants assist leaders in identifying and monitoring behavioral economic indicators worldwide. Gallup consultants also help organizations boost organic growth by increasing customer engagement and maximizing employee productivity through measurement tools, coursework, and strategic advisory services. Gallup's 2,000 professionals deliver services at client organizations, through the Web, at Gallup University's campuses, and in 40 offices around the world. For more information go to www.gallup.com.

Contact Wellmark Media Relations

Traci McBee
Phone: 515-376-4338
mcbeet@wellmark.com

 

Teresa Roof
Phone: 515-376-5869
rooft@wellmark.com

 

1331 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309-2901

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