Sept. 22--Glynn County employees enrolled in the county's health insurance program may soon be required to pay higher premiums if they smoke or fail to follow recommendations for healthier lifestyles.
The county commission's personnel committee is recommending establishing a clinic and a wellness plan that would require employees with county health insurance to take a physical to assess any health risks. The test will include screenings for high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol and glucose.
If they refuse to participate in the program, employees will pay an additional $80 a month for county health insurance.
The plan also raises the tobacco surcharge for smokers to $40 a month.
The clinic, which will be open 20 hours a week in Office Park, where the county has administrative offices on Gloucester Street, Brunswick, will provide health coaching to high-risk patients. The clinic staff will include a nurse practitioner, registered nurse, medical assistant and disease management coach.
County employees who have health problems and fail to follow the recommendations will pay higher insurance rates.
The plan, if approved by the county commission in October, will go into effect Jan. 1.
Orah Reed, director of human resources, says the plan isn't designed to replace the family doctor, but county employees will often find it more convenient and easier to make an appointment for minor ailments, colds and the flu.
"With the clinic, you're probably going to get in quicker, and it's free to the employee," she said.
If it's as successful as county officials hope, Reed said medical services may be provided to all county employees at the clinic in 2014, regardless of whether they are enrolled in the county's health insurance program.
Reed said about 650 of the county's 800 employees are enrolled in the county's health insurance plan.
Commissioner Bob Coleman, a member of the personnel committee, says the proposed changes will save the county between $1.3 million and $1.5 million a year. It will also result in a healthier work force, he said.
"I think it will be beneficial to the entire work force of Glynn County," he said. "This is a much more comprehensive plan."
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