Staff invited to wellness fair by BenefitSU

The university's employee benefits department is sponsoring an all-day wellness fair on Tuesday, April 26, in Tresidder Union's Oak Lounge to promote a new awareness initiative that includes financial incentives for employees who participate in wellness and preventative programs offered through their medical plan.

The fair will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and include health screenings for measuring blood pressure, body fat, strength and flexibility, bone density and cholesterol. Medical providers also will be on hand to answer questions on how to participate in their wellness programs. Employees can earn up to $250 in "wellness rewards" by taking their plan's online health-risk assessment and enrolling in health-improvement programs and workshops.

BenefitSU announced the wellness-rewards program in late-February. Employees belonging to certain medical plans can receive $100 for taking the online health survey and up to $150 for participating in wellness activities. The amount of the latter reward depends on the number of weeks an employee participates in the activities and is paid either in a one-time sum or in partial allocations.

Participants of Health Net, PacifiCare, Only@ Stanford Health Plan and 3-Choice Health Plan are eligible for the reward. Kaiser is not participating in the university's new program, but the healthcare organization has always had a robust wellness program of its own, according to BenefitSU. For employees signed up under the consumer-driven plan Lumenos, rewards will be in the form of non-cash credits added to the member's Health Reimbursement Account (HRA).

Online health-risk surveys and wellness activities are protected in a secure database, and all information given to a medical plan is confidential and protected by law, according to BenefitSU. The only information supplied to Stanford will be the dollar amount owed to the employee for participating in any of the medical plan's wellness activities.

Once the university receives this information, payment will be scheduled as soon as administratively possible. Rewards for participating employees will be included in a regular paycheck and taxed according to the rate in place for regular pay. For an outline of the payment schedule, as well as employee eligibility, go to http://benefitsu.stanford.edu/medical/medical/wellness.html.

On the day of the fair, BenefitSU will run shuttles to and from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and Tresidder Union. The event is open to all staff and faculty and will also feature food, demonstrations, giveaways and drawings for special prizes. More information on the fair is available at http://benefitsu.stanford.edu/medical/medical/wellness_fair.html.