Wellness Sure Beats the Alternative!
The International Health Fund (IHF) is not only there for participating members and families when they're sick, but also to help them stay well. The National Wellness Institute defines wellness as "an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward a more successful existence". Components of wellness include:
- Conscious and self-directed efforts to achieve one's full potential;
- A multi-dimensional, holistic lifestyle to support one's mental and spiritual well-being and environment; and
- Positive and affirming behavior.
IHF strives to incorporate wellness into its plan design include such as free flu shots at in-network pharmacies, diabetic coaching and nutritional counseling through the Not Me Diabetes program, and access to the 24/7 Nurseline and Personal Health Support Coaches. These programs are available at no cost to all IHF participants (if you are not in the IHF, check with your insurance carrier) and to help them make choices to keep on the healthy end of the Health/Disease Continuum.
The Health Disease Continuum is a matrix that measures an individual's wellness level. A "Healthy Individual," for example, may be someone with no disease or symptoms, although they may have unhealthy habits. As they move toward "at risk", they could experience early onset of disease and symptoms. Once someone becomes "chronically ill," their related symptoms are likely to become more difficult to control. Efforts to change controllable behavior such as smoking cessation, obesity reduction, cancer screenings and fitness related activities can keep individuals from moving on to "at risk" or "chronically ill" on the Continuum
Not only do activities that increase wellness improve quality of life, but they also improve healthcare costs. Patients with well-controlled blood sugar levels, for example, have significantly lower costs than those who do not – somewhere in the neighborhood of an estimated $9,000 less in claim costs.
To learn more about managing diabetes, IHF members should log onto www.myuhc.com and select the Health and Wellness tab, selecting "I Do," where this is a section called "Learn" that provides support and tools to manage your condition. If you do not have access to a computer, call member services at 1-866-405-0797, who will get you in touch with a Nurse who can help you get the resources you need.