17, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- University
of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. today announced
a unique, new initiative to hold the line on the school's
rising cost of health benefits by helping employees
become better consumers of health care and health
UK's new Health Literacy Project involves several
components including a new consumer-driven health
benefit option in addition to the traditional HMO
and PPO; pharmaceutical counseling; behavioral lifestyle
counseling; and a major communication effort to educate
the university community about health benefits and
how to best select the various plan options.
"We will ask our employees to become more involved
in their health care, empower them to make decisions
that improve their health and reward them financially
for doing so," Todd said.
University officials said they know of no other institution
bringing together the components of consumer-driven
health plans, prescription drug counseling, behavioral
lifestyle counseling, and in-depth education in an
effort to confront the rising cost of health insurance.
The university is partnering with the administrators
of its self-funded health benefits plans, Humana and
CHA Health, to provide new consumer-driven health
plans. The new plans will be supported by an extensive
An online program will help participants choose the
best plan to suit their needs. Based on responses
to questions, the program will provide a ranking of
the plans and information for comparison of all plans.
This assessment program will be piloted over the next
two months and available to all participants by early
2003, prior to UK's benefits enrollment period which
begins in April.
"We strongly believe that this forward-thinking
focus on consumerism is a component that is extremely
vital to maintaining the affordability and access
to health care for both the employer and employees,"
said Rick Remmers, CEO, Humana-Kentucky.
"CHA Health welcomes the opportunity to offer
University of Kentucky employees consumer-focused
technology and a pro-active approach to health care.
This is a foundation for the university and CHA Health
to continue collaboration on the development of high
quality, cost effective health benefits," added
Mark Birdwhistell, CEO, CHA Health.
The Health Literacy Project also will keep participants
informed about all their benefits options as well
as opportunities to improve their own health.
The rising cost of pharmaceutical drugs has prompted
the UK College of Pharmacy and the Kentucky Clinic
Pharmacy to offer new programs to help relieve the
financial burden for many employees and retirees.
The College of Pharmacy will offer a unique service
called "co-pay counseling." A registered
pharmacist will analyze a patient's prescriptions
and determine if a less expensive generic drug could
be used just as effectively. The pharmacist then makes
that recommendation to the prescribing physician or
health care provider.
Also, three months of maintenance medication is available
for the cost of a two months' supply at the Kentucky
Clinic Pharmacy. Other pharmacy outreach programs
are planned for the future.
Another component of the Health Literacy Project is
a new service offered by the UK Wellness Program called
BeH.I.P. (Health Improvement Plan). It targets seven
high risk conditions like tobacco use, sedentary behavior
and diabetes, and provides written materials as well
as ongoing personal counseling for healthier lifestyle
changes. UK employees and retirees may enroll in BeH.I.P.
on their own, or physicians may prescribe the BeH.I.P.
"It is our hope that after the success of the
Health Literacy Project is established at UK, this
initiative eventually can be applied broadly in the
Commonwealth in such a way as to influence and improve
the health of all of Kentucky's citizens," Todd
The Health Literacy Project is an outgrowth of recommendations
by the University's Health Benefits Task Force, appointed
soon after Todd became president in July 2001.
site will provide more in-depth information in