During fiscal year 2011, the GIC had offered a pilot weight management program at the McCormack State Office Building. Participants lost weight and were hopeful that the program could continue indefinitely. Unfortunately, the program was resource intensive and not scale-able across the large and geographically diverse population that the GIC covers. With obesity rates continuing to rise, there was a strong need to offer a program that could serve more members. Then, Chapter 288 of the Acts of 2010 passed and the GIC was charged with the purchase and management of a wellness program for employees and dependents of the Commonwealth.
Limited state funds were provided in Chapter 288 for the GIC’s new wellness program, but the GIC was able to supplement these funds with some of the reimbursements received through the federal Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. The GIC requested bids for a wellness program for 60,000 state employees in the Executive Branch, Constitutional Offices, and the Legislature, and state retirees ages 55 to 64 and their spouses who are enrolled in a GIC health plan. After a rigorous procurement and five finalist interviews, the GIC selected StayWell Health Management, a national wellness company, to provide an online wellness portal and on-site coordinator for the two-year WellMASS program.
The WellMASS program focuses on weight management, nutrition education, smoking cessation, and stress reduction. The online portal provides confidential health assessments, self-paced wellness modules, and a variety of online resources. Health coaching is provided to participants based on their Health Assessment risks and is available by phone, mail, or online. Coaches give participants tips for eating right, smoking cessation, adding exercise to their routine, and relieving stress. The program kicked off in March with an event that over 100 people attended at the McCormack Building. Over 1,900 people completed a health assessment and 28% of the people who were found to be eligible for health coaching enrolled during the fiscal year. Additionally, over 800 eligible employees and retirees took advantage of complimentary cholesterol screenings at the health fairs to use for their health assessments. New Lunch ‘N Learn programs began in June and are held at state office buildings across the Commonwealth for the benefit of all state employees.
This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission.