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August 30, 2007

$50 health plan incentive offered

Pitt members of UPMC Health Plan are being offered a $50 gift card as incentive for completing an online health risk assessment.

By voluntarily completing a two-step process, members will receive the wellness reward. The deadline to complete the two steps is Oct. 31.

Faculty and staff participants must be active employees to be eligible. To earn the gift card, they must complete the new “MyHealth Record,” a secure and confidential online tool that stores personal health information, and the recently updated online “MyHealth Questionnaire.”

Health-plan enrolled spouses or partners also can earn a $50 gift card by completing the same process by Oct. 31.

Both the health record and questionnaire can be accessed online at through the site’s secure health plan portal called MyHealth OnLine.

New users of the MyHealth web site must register by creating a unique user ID and password, which are case sensitive, to access the secure member portal.

After logging into the web site, users can access the MyHealth Record by clicking on the Overview link in the MyHealth box to view a summary of the record.

The MyHealth Record is a combination of information that a member enters directly (“self-reported” information) and information posted from the member’s enrollment and claims history with UPMC Health Plan. Each time a provider submits a claim on the plan member’s behalf, the information is added automatically to the health care history.

The personalized record allows health plan members to organize and store information such as tests, procedures, office visits and prescriptions, and participants can develop a current health history by entering information on family history, drug and other allergies, immunizations and medications. Some or all of the information can be printed to share with physicians or others.

The questionnaire, which health plan officials said takes about 20 minutes to complete, is located in the “MyTools” box at the same site. Newly updated, the survey prompts the participant to build a personalized health profile that compares his or her current health status with others of the same gender and age group.

In 2005-06, a similar incentive program, which offered participants a month’s health plan premium waiver for completing a health screening, resulted in a nearly 60 percent participation rate among Pitt health plan enrollees, health plan officials said.

According to John Kozar, Pitt director of Benefits, the University has set a participation goal of 90 percent for the wellness reward program.

“The information about the incentive program has been out for about two weeks, and already we have about 1,000 people who have earned the reward,” Kozar said this week.

At Pitt there are about 13,500 enrolled adult health plan members, including spouses and partners, he said.

“We want to stress that this process is confidential and voluntary. We’re not making anybody do anything.”

To earn the gift card, the questionnaire must be completed in full, while the health record can be incomplete, Kozar noted. “We’d like to encourage people to build their personal health record over time, as they gain more information,” he said.

The total cost to Pitt of the previous incentive program was about $650,000, Kozar said. “Depending on the participation rate, the cost to the University for this incentive program will be in the same range,” he said.

All eligible participants who complete this program will be able to select a $50 gift card for either Giant Eagle or Pitt bookstores, after the information is processed by UPMC Health Plan, which takes two-three business days, according to the web site.

(Due to inconvenient access to Giant Eagle stores, participants who reside outside the Pittsburgh area may choose from three other options: Chili’s, Home Depot or Barnes & Noble.)

The gift card will be mailed to the participant’s home address. In compliance with IRS regulations, the value of the gift card will be reported as taxable income.

For more information, access the Fitness for Life web site at

—Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 40 Issue 1

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