SOURCE: Virgin HealthMiles

Virgin HealthMiles

June 20, 2011 09:36 ET

Virgin HealthMiles Selects The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of The United Methodist Church as 2011 Eye on Health Award Recipient

During June's National Employee Wellness Month, Organization Recognized for Proactive, Creative Approach to Creating a Culture of Health

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - Jun 20, 2011) - Virgin HealthMiles, a leading provider of technology-based employee health programs that reward individuals for getting healthy, today announced the recipient of its 2011 Eye on Health award. The award recognizes an organization that serves as an outstanding wellness advocate. This year's recipient was the Illinois-based General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (General Board) of The United Methodist Church (UMC), in recognition of its HealthFlex wellness program, part of the Center for Health.

The Eye on Health award was presented in tandem with June's third annual National Employee Wellness Month. More than 90 companies across the U.S. and over 40,000 of their employees are participating in this year's initiative.

"Forward-thinking employers are putting increased emphasis on prevention as the key to creating healthier workforces and lowering costs -- and results show the approach is working," said Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin HealthMiles. "Virgin HealthMiles congratulates the General Board for its leadership in helping its population become and stay healthy."

The General Board administers retirement, health, and welfare benefits plans, programs and funds for UMC clergy and lay employee participants across the United States. 22,000 participants and spouses are covered by the HealthFlex health plan and wellness program. The General Board believes it helps create stronger churches when its leaders take care of themselves, so the non-profit organization sought to offer a comprehensive, results-focused wellness program.

The General Board's wellness program includes the Virgin HealthMiles Integrated Incentives platform. This enables the General Board to integrate its range of incentives-based wellness programs under one umbrella, making the company's wellness program appear as a comprehensive whole. By integrating incentives, the organization can easily add or replace specific incentives and programs. It also helps the General Board's population make logical connections between incentives and health behaviors, and better understand the strategy of assessing and then improving health.

The General Board is already experiencing positive outcomes thanks to its focus on wellness. "We've seen the healthcare cost trends are more favorable for people who are engaged in our wellness program than for those who aren't," says Kelly Wittich, Health and Wellness Program Manager for the General Board. "The success we're seeing on a broad basis plus the moving stories about how individuals' lives have been changed for the better tells us our investment in wellness is paying off. We're delighted our efforts to create a healthier United Methodist Church have been recognized with this year's Eye on Health award."

To read a case study on the General Board and see stories of individuals who serve as wellness advocates in their own organizations, visit www.nationalemployeewellnessmonth.com.

About National Employee Wellness Month
National Employee Wellness Month is an annual initiative that helps business leaders learn how companies have developed successful strategies around prevention and good health. It showcases how supportive social communities, such as the workplace, can help to improve employee health and productivity and lower healthcare costs, and how leveraging an individual's social connections helps create and sustain a workplace culture of health.

About Virgin HealthMiles
Virgin HealthMiles provides technology-based employee health programs that pay people to get active. The company's Pay-for-Prevention™ approach, based on physical activity and healthy lifestyle change, attracts an average of 40 percent of employees who participate, which helps organizations reduce medical costs and improve employee productivity and satisfaction. Over 120 industry leaders representing more than 700,000 employees across the U.S. have selected Virgin HealthMiles' award-winning program for their employees. The company is a member of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group. For more information, visit www.virginhealthmiles.com.

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