Tag Archives: workforce wellness

Blast Off to Total Well-Being with Sonic Boom

Random acts of kindness, keeping your cool, wearing your sunglasses…is this my next vacation or is this a wellness initiative?

We recently launched our BeWell campaign powered by Sonic Boom Wellness. The BeWell program is based on the concept of embracing all dimensions of wellness, in hopes to expand our understanding of wellness and create a program that provides opportunities and resources. With the support of the Sonic Boom platform, we were able to create a program that best suits our needs and focuses on the 4 dimensions of wellness: personal well-being, physical well-being, financial well-being and professional well-being. Continue reading Blast Off to Total Well-Being with Sonic Boom

Tired of Groundhog Day?

In the 1993 movie, Groundhog Day, Bill Murray plays a weatherman who finds himself living the same day over and over again. The repeated day begins with the alarm clock going off at the same time; playing the same song and proceeds with the same events and people until he goes to bed, only to start the process over again.

Unfortunately, like Bill Murray’s character, many executives making health insurance decisions on behalf of their organizations are finding themselves trapped in a Groundhog Day-like strategy for managing their healthcare costs. The script for their version of the movie reads something like this:

  • Request for Proposal
  • Cost Shift to Employees (design, contributions)
  • Retain or Change Carrier
  • Request for Proposal
  • Cost Shift to Employees (design, contributions)
  • Retain or Change Carriers
  • Request for Proposal
  • Cost Shift to Employees (design, contributions)
  • Retain or Change Carriers


For years, all of the actors (employers, brokers/consultants and insurance companies) involved in the procurement of health insurance have contributed to the construction of this widely accepted annual strategy to address rising health insurance costs. Now, more and more employers are recognizing they don’t like how this movie ends.

Fortunately, there is a new movie playing and the early reviews of its script have the industry talking Academy Award’s. Employers who invest time and money into a Workforce Health Improvement strategy are breaking the old cycle and delivering on a promise to control costs. Instead of battling costs, they are battling cost drivers. If an employer develops and executes a comprehensive plan to change employee behavior and reduce the burden of chronic illness, they can finally manage an expense that has plagued businesses for years.

For those who have not headed in this direction, NOW IS THE TIME. The 2012 renewal cycle is developing into one of the softest markets we have seen since 1992.  Federal Healthcare Reform, specifically the loss ratio provisions, requires insurance carriers to spend $.80 or $.85 (depending upon size) of every dollar on claims. Should they not hit these thresholds, they are required to rebate funds back to policyholders. Their efforts to balance toward these loss ratios have resulted in more aggressive renewals. Since most employers have gotten into the habit of budgeting 10% or more for health insurance, many will end up with some additional funds which should be reinvested in a workforce health program.

In short, let’s leave this Groundhog Day business to Bill Murray. Instead, let’s break free of the repetitive high-cost health insurance conundrum with a well-implemented TakeCharge strategy. If you choose not to, well, you know how the movie ends. . .


There and Back Again: an Intern’s Tale

Summer intern Lauren Freisinger updates the kitchen chalkboard. The interns have managed the chalkboard messages all summer as a way to engage Ovation team members in fun office activities.

When I was younger, I remember telling my mother I wanted to be a pediatrician. Within a few years, I had moved on to dreaming of dermatology, then nutrition. Senior year of high school came with a wave of interest in pharmacology and several visits to UConn to learn more about their well-known pharmacy program. Though I could never make up my mind on which I had the most interest in, all of my potential careers had one thing in common—a medical degree.

Entering Boston University last fall, I chose to enter their pre-med program. Right away I noticed the competitive nature of the pre-med major and the extensive education that came with it and decided to switch to a broader major, health science. I knew with health science I would learn more of the breadth of health-based careers, and I would be able to narrow down a career choice once and for all.

The two careers that piqued my interest most were public health and nurse practitioner. I loved the interdisciplinary nature of public health—coupling health services with epidemiology and statistics to improve the health of a general population rather than a single person. BU has a wonderful school of public health, but lacks a nursing program, so I further pursued public health. I went to information sessions on public health programs, had meetings with the dean, and spent hours researching public health career options. However, no matter who I talked to or where I researched I couldn’t get any detailed answer to my only question—what type of job will I have with a degree in public health? I had a general idea, but wanted a full grasp on what public health really was.

I also went to nurse practitioner information sessions, where I saw a career possibility that had many of the same goals and tasks of a doctor, my original dream—without being pre-med, going to med school, a 3-5 year residency, and finally, board exams. It seemed too good to be true. Nurse practitioners can prescribe medications, see their own patients and even open their own office depending on the state. After learning all of this, I felt really unsure of which field to pursue.

In the midst of all the confusion, one of my favorite teachers from high school invited me to lunch during my spring break. We caught up on how my freshman year was going, how her family was, and the other basics. And then she casually asked, “How would you feel about an internship in the public health field?” Well, I was all over her for information. This would be my chance to see what a job in the public health world would be like. Shortly after, I met with Allison Lantieri, Director of Marketing at Ovation Benefits, and got the ball rolling. We agreed that an Ovation intern position would help me determine if I preferred the public health side or if I felt I was better suited to have a more clinical role.

I have been an intern at Ovation for 8 weeks now, and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the Workforce Health team. Seeing blood screenings go full-circle, helping prep the PowerPoints to be shown in our Risk Reduction classes and sending out reports to employees participating in our program. I love how Ovation is in business for something that will have an actual impact and save lives, touch hearts, and protect those we love. I am proud to tell family, friends, anyone where I work this summer, and even if they are just trying to make small talk—I give the whole spiel on what it is that Ovation does because I couldn’t feel better about it. People should know about this company, because there is a chance that if those that we have lost in our lives had access to a program like Ovation offers, they might still be here.

Although it may not seem very eye opening, preparing for blood screenings and sending out reports to clients has helped me find the answer I was looking for all of those months at BU. There is one day in particular that stands out in my mind. I was entering data from a screening into an excel document, and the particular person whose data I was looking at was at extremely high risk—extremely heavy, very high blood pressure and cholesterol, and had been warned by his doctor to get his health under control. I happened to glance at the comments section of the sheet as I flipped the page, and couldn’t help but see that he had written, “I would love to attend nutrition classes even if we had to pay for them”. If someone at such high risk is so willing to get help, he could have been on the right track years ago if he had the right clinician.

I thought about how I wanted the technical expertise and human connection to provide help to people like that man. I know now that I can achieve that by becoming a nurse practitioner. I want to be in a position where I can build relationships and trust and have people come to me for guidance and direction about their health. As nurse practitioner I feel I could have a more hands-on experience with people and could have a more direct affect on people’s lives. Not to say public health doesn’t do that as well, but I believe that as a nurse practitioner I have truly found what I’ve been searching for.

I want to make a difference. I know what I want to do now, and I have Ovation to thank. As I fill out transfer applications for nursing school, I am grateful for all I have learned this summer. I know I will always look back on the experience as a defining moment in my life.