243720 A Healthy Community coalition creates a wellness pool for very small businesses as an add-on to coverage through exchanges

Monday, October 31, 2011: 2:30 PM

Kala E. Ladenheim, PhD, MSPH , Division of Health Improvement, Medical Care Development, Augusta, ME
Andrew Spaulding , Maine Cardiovascular Health Program, Medical Care Development, Augusta, ME
William Primmerman , Greater Somerset Public Health Collaborative And Somerset Heart Health, Skowhegan, ME
Background: Very small businesses are the chief employers in rural areas such as Maine. Their difficulties providing insurance are well documented. Workplace wellness is challenging for similar reasons: limited capacity, poor economies of scale/improvement, financial fragility and privacy concerns. Health reform creates new opportunities and incentives to bridge medical care and wellness, but the difficulty of marketing to “micro-employers” of 5 or fewer renders wellness unavailable to most rural workers. Method: Working through a community health coalition, this project offers "workplace wellness” in the community and allows employers to access financial incentives—insurance discounts and tax credits—designed for larger groups. The project defines (1) micro-worksite wellness add-on to insurance and (2) metrics for evaluating employee participation in a hybrid employer-community program. A grant from the Maine Health Access Foundation simulates financial incentives for microbusinesses. Results: Major insurance carriers, wellness providers, insurance regulators and small businesses form a study group to design a replicable product and propose necessary legal and regulatory changes acceptable to insurers and employers. An evidence-based large business scorecard --Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO)/Mercer—is being adapted by applying a combination of community and workplace inputs. Conclusion: A community health coalition can function as a pool for the smallest employers to access wellness opportunities under health reform. The community-based coalition addresses administrative and market barriers to create a workplace wellness add-on for very small businesses that can be incorporated transparently into insurance products sold through exchanges under health reform.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify new opportunities under health reform for community coalitions to improve their own sustainability by offering community-workplace wellness to very small businesses. Compare obstacles and opportunities for providing workplace wellness faced by mid-sized (100+) and very small (<5) employers

Keywords: Worksite, Community-Based Partnership

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed this project proposal and am the principal investigator for this project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.