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UK Healthtrac Rewards Announced

Contact: Kathy Johnson


David Hoke, director of the UK Health Literacy Project.

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“As our faculty, staff and retirees become healthier through disease prevention, medical costs are lowered, helping us hold down the spiraling costs of health benefits.”

-- Lee T. Todd Jr.,
UK President

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July 8, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- The University of Kentucky has launched a program that pays employees to become more involved in improving their health. UK has contracted with the national firm Healthtrac Inc. through the university’s health benefits carrier CHA-Health. Healthtrac provides a Web-based program of health assessment, education and resources for disease prevention and management.

The university’s program, called UK Healthtrac Rewards, is available to UK employees and retirees who are enrolled in a university health plan. Participants who visit their personal health page on the Internet once a month and complete the Healthtrac questionnaire when it is available, can earn $10 each month, up to $120 a year, with quarterly checks sent directly to their homes.

This program is part of the UK Health Literacy Project, an overall effort to limit the cost increases in health insurance and improve the health of employees.

“As our faculty, staff and retirees become healthier through disease prevention, medical costs are lowered, helping us hold down the spiraling costs of health benefits,” said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. “Since the UK Health Literacy Project was launched last year, the university has experienced less than a 10 percent increase in health care coverage costs compared to a national average of 15 percent.”

The University of Kentucky is the first university to use Healthtrac which provides various health improvement programs to organizations around the world. “Our sophisticated online programs evolved from over 20 years experience as the leader in paper-based health risk assessment and intervention programs,” said Edward W. Sharpless, president and CEO, Healthtrac Inc.

Individuals who are enrolled in the health plans offered through CHA-Health and Humana must register online at those companies’ Web sites for their personal health page. After registering, and arriving at the page with a secure password the participants create, they will be asked to fill out a health assessment questionnaire. Based on how it is answered, participants will receive information about their health status. If they need to make improvements, the Healthtrac program will recommend ways to do so and resources on UK’s campus that can help. Other information from the health insurance carrier also is available on that personal health page.

Individuals can indicate in the Healthtrac questionnaire if they do or do not want follow-up information. If they want it, personal health counselors will be in touch with them. If they do not want the information, no contact will be made.

“All information is kept strictly confidential,” said David Hoke, director of the UK Health Literacy Project. “All information privacy laws are followed.”

The new program is funded through UK’s health benefit plan, Hoke said. “The self-funded medical plan is owned by all of us at UK, and by investing in the Healthtrac program, we can all work together to control our costs.”

Organizations that have used this Healthtrac program have reported as much as a four to one return on the financial investment. T. Lynn Williamson, director of UK Human Resources said he would be pleased with a one to one return in the first year, with savings increasing each year after that.

“The Healthtrac program is a clear demonstration of how the university is on the cutting edge among organizations trying to control health care costs. When you take into consideration all the components of our UK Health Literacy Project, we know of no other academic institution that is working to control costs like UK,” Williamson said.

The Health Literacy Project includes not only the new Healthtrac Rewards program, but also BeH.I.P., a healthy lifestyle improvement program, and Pharmacy REACH, a health and medication counseling program.

Allison Miller, director of communications for the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), said UK has joined only a few other universities in the country with programs similar to UK Healthtrac Rewards. “They are on the forefront of a new trend in higher education benefits,” she said.

For more information on UK Healthtrac Rewards call the UK Health Literacy Project at 257-6215 or visit www.uky.edu/HealthLiteracy.


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