You can’t believe how happy I was when my company’s wellness coach told me, “you’ve lost over 400 pounds!” It was even better that she wasn’t talking about just me, but the 85 other people I work with!
My name is Lynn Cosgrove and I’m the Human Resources Specialist at R.E. Darling in Pima County, Arizona. At R.E. Darling (we sometimes call ourselves REDAR) we manufacture aerospace products. We’re also self-insured and a few years ago our claims reached over $1 million a year. The costs were so high we were at risk of not being able to afford health insurance for our employees any more.
REDAR is sort of like a family: we all know each other and care about each other. No one wanted to contemplate discontinuing health insurance for employees because of the high costs. We decided that something needed to be done to reduce our health insurance costs and to make sure we had a healthy family, as well as a healthy bottom-line.
We instituted a wellness program called REDAR Employees Achieve Complete Health (REACH). As a part of REACH we hired an on-site wellness coach, started daily onsite fitness classes, wellness education classes and provided cash incentives for employees who took part in regular wellness checks like blood pressure and cholesterol testing.
We also took steps to change the environment around our employees. We took all the junk food out of the vending machines, created a walking path around the manufacturing plant. We’ve even talked about starting a vegetable garden!
The results have been truly amazing! We’ve reduced our health insurance claims by 70% and, of course, we’ve collectively lost 440 pounds! Our employees are seeing the benefits at home too. I ran into Norma the other day from one of our production departments and she told me how her children have been exercising with her since she has been participating in our wellness program and they all have seen their health improve!
I’m proud of all that REDAR has accomplished with our REACH program. Our employees are more energetic, happier and healthier, and so is our bottom line.