King County launched Healthy Incentives in 2006 to address employee health care costs that were rising at a rate of three times the Consumer Price Index. A benefit plan rewards employees with lower out-of-pocket expenses for choosing high quality healthcare plans and participating in wellness activities, while work through the Washington Health Alliance drives healthcare quality improvements. Since implementation, the Healthy Incentives program has saved King County $46 million on employee health care by supporting health improvements and encouraging use of higher quality health care.

The program’s goal is to create a culture in which employees will take better care of themselves, heading off lifestyle-based chronic illnesses — from certain cancers to obesity-related diabetes — that lead to exorbitant costs, absenteeism and personal tragedies.

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