By Holly McCray
A healthy reward arrived with the new year for some Oklahoma clergy. Their personal medical insurance premiums are reduced by as much as $60 per month throughout 2014.
Among 450 clergymen and women who were eligible, 317 qualified for rewards, said Benefits Assistant Debbie Ware.
In the Conference Health Benefits Plan, the monthly cost is $248 for individual health insurance for full-time active clergy in 2014. Through a Conference wellness initiative, that amount is being discounted for those who met specific health criteria, determined by health screenings in 2013.
Among the five standards: blood pressure of 140/90 or lower, LDL cholesterol of less than 130, and body mass index below 30.
Reward was a $10 discount for each goal achieved. Participation in the Annual Conference Health Screening also earned a $10 reward.
A total of 68 clergy met every goal, and thus each of them saves $720 this year on medical insurance.
• 114 clergy met four criteria, and each receives a $40 discount monthly.
• 88 clergy qualified on five levels.
• 40 met three of the goals.
• Seven earned $20 discounts by meeting two criteria.
"We all need to be mindful of how important it is to take care of ourselves and be examples for others" in our churches and communities, Ware said. "The point of the wellness program is to be proactive."
She makes presentations on nutrition, fitness, managing stress, and more. The state ranks poorly, at No. 44 in overall health, according to United Health Foundation’s annual survey.
Ware also pointed to the rising financial costs of healthcare. The Conference plan is a self-funded program.
This wellness reward program rolled out with the 2013 Annual Conference health screening. Ware announced that testing again will be offered at the 2014 session.
• FACEBOOK — "OKUMC Wellness" launched in late 2013. Ware invites you to join the conversation.
• WORKING OUT — Anyone, including dependents, who is enrolled in the Conference Health Benefits Plan can receive discounts for gym memberships through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma, the UM plan’s provider. Go to www.bcbsok.com and log in to "Blue Access." This program includes several fitness companies.
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