By Christine Vestal, Stateline
SEATTLE – When King County, Washington, launched its employee wellness program seven years ago, its motive was clear. “We were being eaten alive by runaway medical costs,” says the county’s top executive Dow Constantine.
By all accounts, the previous administration was desperate to bring down double-digit health care cost growth that threatened to destroy the entire budget.
That partially explains why King County, which spends nearly $200 million per year to insure 14,000 workers and their families, who mostly live and work here in the county seat, was willing to risk millions more on a wellness program that would prove to break the traditional mold.
Why has King County’s employee wellness program far surpassed all others in employee participation, health improvement and health care savings?
But it doesn’t explain why this employee wellness program, which received an innovation award this year from Harvard University, has far surpassed all others in employee participation, health improvement and health care savings. Continue reading