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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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ELCA health plan promotes wellness

Moving against the tide of the U.S. health-care industry's illness model, the Board of Pensions staff and trustees discussed plans for a health and wellness initiative. At their July 30-Aug. 1 meeting, trustees heard Bradley Joern, the board's health actuary, describe potential health plan changes for 2005. Rather than simply paying to get people well after they're ill, these changes would promote plan members staying healthy.

"We want to keep the ELCA plan affordable and also promote health and wellness within the ELCA," Joern said. "It would be nice if good health were a reward in itself, but we know incentives help." Such incentives may mean that plan members could include as eligible expenses such things as the cost of weight-loss programs, spiritual direction, smoking cessation programs and exercise equipment, Joern added. Additional study will determine the role of incentives in a wellness program.


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