Holiday puts premium on good health


Special to the Advocate

Just about everybody likes a holiday, and Mississippi United Methodists could add another to their calendars for 2009.

The success of The Amazing Pace pedometer activity program and the Optimal Health Guide preventative care coaching has been so successful that the conference Board of Medical Benefits recently agreed to add another incentive for health plan participants to encourage increased involvement in these two wellness programs. A “premium holiday” will be awarded at the end of 2009 to all health plan insurees who meet specific standards during 2009.

“I was asked by a clergy friend how it was that the Board of Medical Benefits could just give money away.,” said the Rev. Trey Harper, chair of the Board of Medical Benefits. “I told him that we are firmly convinced that the savings that will result because people are being dedicated and intentional about their health will far outweigh any cost to the plan. I am so grateful to our Board for being so forward thinking and dedicated to the health of our clergy and families.”

To encourage the health plan members to be more active and aware of their wellness goals, the Board of Medical Benefits has offered to waive one month’s health insurance premium for health plan members who meet set standards. The standards developed for 2009 to guide insurees and spouses in earning their “premium holiday” are:

• Be a participant in The Amazing Pace activity program beginning Jan. 1, 2009 and wear your pedometer 65 percent of the days (237 days) in 2009. If you are not already enrolled in The Amazing Pace, go to and click on “Enrollment” and begin with step one.

Upload your Amazing Pace pedometer weekly via The Amazing Pace website and the convenient USB connection.

Participate in the Healthy You! Wellness Program annual screenings. This is an annual wellness visit with your network provider. The conference health plan pays 100 percent of the screening when you use a network provider. This screening helps you identify potential health risks before they become serious and is designed to help you “know your numbers” for blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and weight to help you manage your health and health risks.

Consult an “Optimal Health Guide,” if you qualify, twice each quarter and post your confirmation on The Amazing Pace website. Optimal Health Guides are HIPAA compliant registered nurses/coaches.

• f your spouse is on the health plan, each of you must meet these standards in 2009.

 “I am excited about the potential for continuing health improvement at a reduced cost,” said the Rev. David Cox, pastor of Meadville UMC and an original Amazing Pacer. “Currently, the HealthBux system is a nice reward incentive for those already participating in The Amazing Pace. However, the opportunity to actually keep cash in your pocket, as a result of the premium holiday, will be an even greater stimulus for participation. I believe it will be the spark that rejuvenates the current Amazing Pacers and will also be a catalyst for new participants. I am glad to see the overall savings being passed along to individuals and families.”

The objective of these wellness programs and incentives are to continually improve the health and wellness of Mississippi Conference. The conference continues to lead the country in innovative wellness programs as noted by the U.S. Surgeon General’s recognition of our efforts in Washington, D.C. last month. For additional information about the premium holiday, e-mail Elaine Dye at or call 1-866-775-7195.