Clipper Staff Writer
FARMINGTON — The steady increase in health-care costs is swallowing up a big chunk of the increased funding for schools authorized by the Utah Legislature this year, prompting the district to implement a new health-care initiative.
“Davis Moves” does more than encourage district employees to stay healthy, it draws $6.25 per month from their salaries over 10 months until they complete a health assessment survey and have a biometric screening.
Of that, $60 will be returned when they take both steps.
That return could come as early as Nov. 30 (after only $12.50 has been paid) if they get their blood work and health assessment done on time, according to John Robison, healthy lifestyles supervisor for the district.
“We’re not trying to make a bunch of money and make a bunch of interest,” said Robison. “That’s not a motive on our part. It’s just to incentivize our employees to become more aware of their health and to make any changes that they need to make.”
In discussing how best to implement the new program, district leaders talked with officials at other districts and in other companies.
“All of them told us that when they had voluntary programs, very few people participated,” said Robison. “It wasn’t until they charged a monthly premium that they saw the numbers increase to the point that the vast majority of the people were participating, and then they saw some decreases or some stabilization in cost.”
The main goal, said Robison, is to see a significant number of people become healthier.
“That’s the number one reason we are doing it,” he said. The second reason is to try and decrease health-care costs.
Other entities that have taken similar measures, he said, have seen healthcare costs go down or at least plateau.
Pat Riley, executive director of Davis Education Association, said the association supports the idea of a wellness program.
“There was some hesitation on how it’s funded, but teachers get most of the money back and there are not an outrageous amount of things they’re asked to do. We hope that it will help to contain our cost increases. That’s our goal, to contain insurance increases.”