Chicago adopts wellness plan for city employees

The city of Chicago and the Chicago Federation of Labor are partnering to offer a comprehensive wellness program to city employees and their dependents.

Free wellness services, check-ups and counseling for city workers will be available on this program, which is expected to save taxpayers at least $20 million during its first year.

“With this partnership, we are able to save millions for Chicago’s taxpayers and improve the lives of city workers,” says Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This innovative program is only possible with the partnership of our partners in labor unions. It will help our workers and their families live healthier lives while greatly reducing the amount spent on health insurance for city workers.”

When labor union leaders and the Emanuel administration first met, wellness was one of the first matters addressed. The program, which was created after several meetings over the course of a few months, is designed to maintain good employee health, identify critical health needs and help manage chronic conditions.

“I am pleased to have worked with the mayor to craft a program that works for Chicago employees and the people of the city,” says Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor. “The health and wellbeing of our members and their families is essential to the city’s success in the future, and we are committed to working with the mayor to implement this program swiftly and effectively.”

Employees and eligible spouses can join the program at no cost, and an annual health screening, follow-up phone calls from a medical provider, and free instruction on key areas of concern or focus are provided. For employees who do not participate in the program, an additional $50 per month in health care premiums is charged, which is used to fund the program.

The health screenings target areas of immediate concern, including hypertension, high cholesterol, smoking and diabetes, while developing an appropriate medical solution for the patient. Optional programs for children are also available.

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