INDIANAPOLIS, April 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Most of us agree, there have been times we've needed a coach. Our closets are a mess and our bank account(s), even more so. Marital bliss is far from effortless, and our own teenage angst was a walk in the park compared to what we're currently living with.
And yet, while family health doesn't top our list, according to a new WellPoint survey, sometimes this kind of guidance is exactly what we need. Disability can happen to any of us at any time. In fact, the actual odds that a new worker will experience a long-term disability before retirement are one in three, according to the Council for Disability Awareness.
In times like this, WellPoint offers a health coach. Is this Vince Lombardi? No. Oprah? She is booked. However, 25 percent of those surveyed said they'd like to have Vince Lombardi or Oprah herself coach them through their trials and tribulations...someone who provides encouragement, gives incentives and pushes them hard.
WellPoint offers health coaches to do exactly that. While two thirds of Americans don't know what a health coach is – or even what one does, the role of a health coach can be invaluable.
"WellPoint health coaches work one-on-one with employees to help identify and resolve clinical and non-clinical issues that impact their ability to be productive," said Julie Bietsch, vice president, WellPoint's Care Management Operations. "With this support, employees may return to work more quickly and, in some cases, may be able to stay at work and avoid a disability claim altogether."
Half of all Americans – and even more parents – admit they can't afford to be sidelined by health issues for three months or more. And the toll is even greater for the employer, with studies suggesting that the cost of absence and lost productivity may be up to four times greater than health care costs alone. In fact, unplanned absences cost employers $74 billion and 2.8 million lost work hours per year.*
Unlike traditional disability management models, WellPoint's integrated health and short -term disability program (Productivity Solutions) leads to an improvement in employee productivity and a reduction in disability costs through disability prevention, shortened durations and a reduction in repeat claims.
"Our program has a 21 percent reduction in claim turnaround time and connects applicants quickly to their health coach," said Pat Murphy, president and general manager, WellPoint's Life and Disability business. "On average, our members return to work one week faster than with other programs. And we know every day counts."
Additional survey results regarding disability insurance and health coaches found:
- Six in 10 parents with a child under 18 years old admit not having the financial resources to be out of work for three months or more due to their health.
- Nearly three-quarters of Americans who suffer from a chronic condition (e.g., diabetes, asthma) say they could use someone to coach them for the road ahead.
- Women are significantly more likely than men to welcome coaching or guidance on family-related topics (40 percent versus 30 percent).
The omnibus survey was conducted online among a national sample of 2,500 Americans ages 18+ (balanced to Census). Fielding took place in March 2011 by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS). The survey has a margin of error of +2.0% at the 95% confidence level, meaning if the study were replicated, the study findings would be within 2 percentage points 95 times out of 100.
More information about Productivity Solutions can be found in the Integrated Health and Productivity Management whitepaper. Go to www.anthem.com/specialty/co and select the "Integrated Health, Absence & Disability Management Report" link.
*Sources: The Integrated Health, Absence and Disability Management Report 2010, Anthem Pilot Study 2009
About WellPoint, Inc.
WellPoint works to simplify the connection between Health, Care and Value. We help to improve the health of our communities, deliver better care to members, and provide greater value to our customers and shareholders. WellPoint is the nation's largest health benefits company in terms of medical enrollment, with 34 million members in its affiliated health plans, and a total of more than 70 million individuals served through its subsidiaries. As an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, WellPoint serves members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin. In a majority of these service areas, WellPoint does business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, or Empire Blue Cross (in the New York service areas). WellPoint also serves customers throughout the country as UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at www.wellpoint.com.
SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.