New health plan focuses on wellness

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Brisk autumn walks and bike rides around wine country, bountiful fall harvests and pick-up games of football -- the season is a great one for eating well and staying in shape. For some, pursuing a healthy, active lifestyle is easy; others need incentives to have goals and a program to follow. Either way, endowed employees who signed up for the Cornell Program for Healthy Living (CPHL) last year have found it can provide both that personal focus on wellness and cost savings.

CPHL is a comprehensive health insurance plan that uses the Aetna provider network and claims administration just like the other Aetna insurance options and similar to HealthNow. But it is much more than a traditional health insurance plan.

More than 500 employees selected this plan when it was first offered during last year's open enrollment period, and many of them have taken advantage of the key wellness features that it alone offers. Participants can take an online health risk assessment, and the results are shared with their in-network primary-care physician, who then provides annual comprehensive physical exams with wellness in mind. When it comes to wellness, we all have room for improvement.

"This is a very non-threatening and fully informative approach to achieving a better state of wellness in our lives, and it comes wrapped up in a health insurance plan -- a very convenient combination," said Paul Bursic, director of Benefit Services, who notes that Cornell data show that CPHL has very similar costs per employee across a wide range of health care utilization. "I depend on my personal physician for sound, sensible advice. The work is up to me, but I need to know what kinds of activity are safe for me to tackle. It is very nice having my doctor in my corner helping me out when I need it. He has the numbers, and we know where I need to be."

As the annual open enrollment time approaches in November, Benefit Services encourages you consider CPHL for your health insurance plan. You get everything the other plans offer and a lot more at a lower premium.

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Nancy Doolittle