Our purpose of helping people on their path to better health is at the heart of our colleague health and wellness programs. Over the past few years, we have introduced resources and incentives to encourage colleagues to make healthier choices and take responsibility for their health care spending.
Health Savings Accounts
The comprehensive health benefits plan that we offer our colleagues is a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), coupled with a contribution to their HSA. We began the transition to this model in 2013 and completed it in 2014. The benefit of an HSA is it enables colleagues to save pre-tax dollars in an interest-bearing bank account and use the funds to pay their out-of-pocket health care expenses. The company's annual contribution to colleagues' HSAs varies by colleague salary level, the lower the salary, the higher the company contribution to allow for affordable health care for all colleagues. On average, we contribute $1,100 annually per enrolled colleague. In addition, close to 60% of colleagues contribute their own money to their HSA each year. We believe this type of plan encourages personal accountability and better health care consumerism. Based on preliminary results, our colleagues are adopting more cost-effective health care spending habits, such as opting for generic medications over brands and using more affordable places of service, such as MinuteClinic, without sacrificing necessary care. As we have gained a better understanding of our colleagues' evolving needs, we have refined the program. For instance, we introduced an HSA feature that helps colleagues with cash flow concerns to pay for health expenses by borrowing against future semi-annual company contributions. This feature is called HSA On-Demand and was launched along with a new HSA website that makes paying for health care expenses very simple for plan members. We also launched a technology platform that allows our colleagues and their spouses to evaluate and compare the cost and quality of health care providers within their carrier’s network for services they need. We also responded to the needs of our diabetic colleagues, adopting 100% coverage of brand-name insulins that are not available as generics. At the end of 2015, more than 86,000 colleagues were enrolled in the CVS Health Plan. Early in 2016 another 6,000 colleagues at former Target pharmacies joined the plan, and we will convert another 8,000 Omnicare colleagues to our plans in 2017.
WellRewards, our preventive health and wellness program for colleagues introduced in 2012, offers incentives, including a $600 reduction in paycheck contributions each year, for colleagues who undergo an annual free health screening and complete an online health assessment. In 2015, we added an additional $600 per year reduction in paycheck contributions for colleagues whose spouses also participate. Participation has been strong: 90% of our colleagues and 75% of spouses participated in the program in 2015. Based on this high level of engagement, in 2016 we will give colleagues and spouses who are in good health, as measured through their 2015 blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol readings, a screening exemption. This means they can skip the in-person portion of the annual health assessment as a reward for good health.
Since taking our stance on tobacco, we launched an incentive program to encourage CVS Health colleagues who use tobacco to quit. We know that employees who use tobacco cost close to $6,000 more per year than non-tobacco-using employees, due to absenteeism, smoking breaks and excess health care costs. We also know that tobacco is a difficult habit to break and research shows that incentive-based programs, especially those that require participants to pledge some of their own money as part of the challenge, tend to be more successful. Our incentives focus on both users and non-users of tobacco.
For colleagues enrolled in our health plan and who pledge to live tobacco-free, we deposit $50 in their HSA each June 1st. If the colleague’s spouse does the same, the contribution doubles to $100.
To encourage colleagues who use tobacco to quit the habit, we introduced 700 Good Reasons, an incentive program that is open to all colleagues regardless of whether they participate in our health plan.
The program requires participants to commit to stop using tobacco and back it up with a $50 deposit of their own money. Those who test tobacco-free after six months receive $200 from CVS Health. After 12 months, if a test shows that the colleague is still tobacco-free, we give the participant an additional $500, and return their initial $50 deposit. In the first six months of the program, approximately 1,000 colleagues signed up and made their $50 deposit.
All of our colleagues can take advantage of a suite of MinuteClinic preventive services that are offered free of charge – from biometric screenings and weight management, to smoking cessation and flu shots. When colleagues covered by our health plan get sick with a common illness like an ear infection or a sinus infection, they can visit a MinuteClinic and pay a reduced price of $45 until they meet their deductible. After they meet their annual deductible, MinuteClinic sick visits are free for the rest of the plan year.
Measuring Health Outcomes
We have been tracking our Organizational Health Score (OHS) since 2012. The OHS combines the aggregate data from our colleagues’ health assessments and biometric screenings into a single actionable metric to reveal our workforce’s combined health risk. Having this metric helps us invest resources and design programs to address health opportunities where we can have the greatest impact. Overall, CVS Health’s score is slightly better than the study’s benchmark, but the most significant health risk to our company is obesity, with a higher prevalence of diabetes and hypertension. We are using this information to inform new program development and areas of opportunity for increasing colleague engagement in health.