When it comes to improving the health of our community, employers have the unique opportunity to promote and influence real change. By implementing workplace wellness programs, organizations can help reduce preventable illness, aid in managing chronic disease more effectively, and inspire employees to engage in and be passionate about their overall health and well-being.

Independent Health has a long history of providing employers with the innovative tools, resources and support they need to create and maintain effective workplace wellness programs. Many of these organizations and companies have been able to improve the overall health and well-being of their employees, which has led to reduced absenteeism and medical costs and increased productivity and morale.

The changing landscape of corporate wellness

As the local leader in corporate wellness, Independent Health understands that today’s employees are different than they were just a few years ago. Due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic, a “one-size-fits-all” approach to corporate wellness is no longer viable or sustainable. Organizations, especially those on the larger side, have varying needs depending on their unique circumstances, such as their current work model (e.g., on-site, remote or hybrid), company culture, demographics of the population, and varying geographic locations.

In addition, now more than ever, it’s imperative that employers focus on all the aspects of wellness. Research demonstrates that when a holistic approach is integrated into a corporate wellness program, employees often feel more valued and motivated in the work they do. Here are the five main dimensions of wellness that all employers should now consider:

  1. Physical – Includes exercise, nutrition, weight management, disease management, sleep, etc.
  2. Emotional – Includes managing mental health conditions like stress, anxiety and depression.
  3. Financial – Includes being more informed and secure about personal finances (budgeting wisely, credit score, savings, debt, etc.)
  4. Work – Includes having purpose and happiness in job, feeling supported and engaged, work/life balance, development and learning opportunities, overall job performance, etc.
  5. Social – Includes building and sustaining meaningful relationships with co-workers, manager, friends and family, as well as being involved in the community.

Hometown support and solutions

As the only health plan with a team of corporate wellness specialists based here in Western New York, Independent Health can provide employers and their employees with the expert support and personalized experience they deserve.

For instance, we offer a wellness solution for large employer groups that goes beyond the typical workplace wellness program called FitWorks® Prime. Each group that participates in FitWorks Prime is assigned their own wellness specialist who works one-on-one with them every step of the way. By analyzing the group’s medical and pharmacy claims, biometric screening results, and aggregate health risk assessment data, our wellness specialist will recommend engagement strategies that not only focus on the five main dimensions of wellness but are tailored to specifically meet the interests and needs of both the organization and its employees.

At the core of FitWorks Prime is our unique FitWorks online wellness tool, which features a variety of prevention and engagement challenges that employees can complete to earn points. Challenges may include getting certain preventive health services, completing a health assessment, exercising for at least 150 minutes a week and taking part in community events, either as a competitor or volunteer. Points earned by employees for completing these activities can always be linked to incentives and rewards. Employers who wish to upload their own challenges to FitWorks can do so. Plus, they have access to a full reporting suite to monitor program outcomes so that they can see the true impact of their workplace wellness efforts.

Going above and beyond

Achieving a culture of health among employees means that prevention and wellness activities must extend beyond the workday, too. That’s why Independent Health offers a variety of innovative benefits*, digital tools and community programs that make it easier for people to take charge of their overall health and adopt healthier habits. This includes:

RedShirt Rewards provides our members with incentives for staying on top of their health and wellness. By completing certain healthy actions – such as an annual checkup, flu shot, COVID-19 vaccine and booster, and breast cancer and colon cancer screenings – our members will earn a $10 a gift card from a wide range of participating retailers.

Members can earn up to $30 in RedShirt Rewards each plan year. They can also make it a family affair, because each member in their plan that is 18 years of age and older (spouse and dependents) is eligible to earn their own rewards just for completing the actions that are right for them.

Through this unique benefit, eligible members receive a $1 credit for future in-store grocery purchases at Tops Friendly Markets for every $2 they spend on fresh fruits and vegetables. Members who enroll in the benefit can earn up to $1,000 on their food purchases each year on a family plan (up to $500 on a single plan).

The fruit and vegetable purchases are tracked right through the Tops BonusPlus® program, so it’s easy to earn reward dollars for purchasing healthy foods. Each quarter, enrolled members receive a rewards card, which they can use for in-store grocery purchases.

Brook+ is a year-long program that helps participants reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes by making real lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier, incorporating physical activity into their daily lives, and improving problem-solving and coping skills. It’s a completely digital Diabetes Prevention Program, meaning it can be accessed using a smartphone, tablet or computer. Plus, Brook+ is a fully-covered $0 benefit for most of our plans.

More than 14,000 Independent Health members have participated in Brook+ since it was launched in January 2021. Eligible participants receive one-on-one guidance and advice from a CDC-trained, personal lifestyle coach who customizes the program to fit their lifestyle needs and goals. They also have access to group support for encouragement, sharing ideas, and celebrating success, and receive a free digital scale and Fitbit to track their progress in the program.

Independent Health currently partners with the Buffalo Bills, YMCA, Buffalo Museum of Science Outer Harbor Buffalo, GObike Buffalo, Buffalo RiverWorks and many other local organizations to offer and sponsor engaging community programs and initiatives that promote healthy lifestyle choices. Among the ways we’re bringing healthy to Western New Yorkers include Fitness in the Parks, Reddy Bikeshare, Wellness Walks at Tifft Nature Preserve, and the Independent Health and Buffalo Bills Health & Wellness Challenge.

Independent Health members can also receive more than 600 exclusive wellness discounts by simply showing their member ID card. Discounts apply to select community partners, too!

We’re here for you!

If you are an employer who is interested in having a healthier workforce and would like to learn more about what Independent Health can do for you and your employees, contact your broker or an Independent Health benefit consultant today. You can also visit our website to learn more about our benefits, digital tools and community programs.

*Benefits vary by plan. Please check your summary of benefits to see if one of these benefits is associated with your plan.