Office of Mayor William Peduto
Mayor William Peduto Announces Changes to City Health & Wellness Initiatives

PITTSBURGH, PA (October 13, 2015) Mayor William Peduto announced changes to City health and wellness initiatives today that will benefit both the City’s employees and its operating budget.

The City will return to a self-insured health benefits model that will allow it to lessen expected increases in health care costs, and will expand the CityFit program that offers employees incentives for reductions in their premiums. The changes will enable the City to minimize payroll deduction increases while complying with cost containment measures within the Act 47 Recovery Plan.

The City currently offers a Wellness Reward program that allows employees to earn $240 in health care premium reductions by completing biometric screenings and a wellness profile. Next year those who are already enrolled will be able to receive an additional $240 in savings, and enrollment will be offered to those not already participating in the program, if they complete two wellness activities in the first six months of the year.

A telemedicine program will be introduced as an alternative to urgent care and emergency room visits, which is also ideal for City employees working irregular shifts. The City will additionally develop a multi-year strategic plan to continuously improve and engage more employees in health improvement activities.

“City government’s greatest asset has always been its people, and these health and wellness improvements will make their lives, and their service to the community, even better,” Mayor Peduto said.

The City’s medical and pharmacy benefits are currently fully-insured through two insurance providers. After studies by an outside consultant which included a review of historical claims experience, the City’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) found it could better control healthcare costs in 2016 and beyond by becoming self-insured and improving the CityFit health and wellness program.

City employees will be able to maintain their current benefit levels and will receive a choice of networks and medical providers, while OMB will be better able to hold down costs. The City is currently spending $53 million on health care, and with no changes to its insurance policies was set to spend $64 million in 2016, a significant increase which would have required the City to reduce expenses elsewhere. Through the changes announced today the City will slow the rate of growth in healthcare costs in 2016, when costs will be an estimated $57 million.

“The cost of employee salaries and health care represents a large proportion of the City’s budget, so we must continuously pursue opportunities to create a cost effective and sustainable health and wellness program for our employees,” OMB Director Sam Ashbaugh said.

The changes will bring the City into compliance over three years with a mandate in the Act 47 Recovery Plan that employees pay 20% of the total cost of healthcare, and cut the annual increase in employee contributions approaching in 2016 by one-third.

The Act 47 Team has approved the initiatives.

A presentation on the changes is available here.

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