HAP Members Shed 80 Tons on Weight Watchers®
Local employers embrace low-cost wellness solution
DETROIT –September 9, 2008 –Health Alliance Plan (HAP) and Weight Watchers® officials announced today that more than 16,000 HAP members have lost nearly 163,000 pounds in just one year. The unprecedented partnership between a Michigan-based, nonprofit health plan and popular weight loss program has also resulted in impressive clinical outcomes and has been embraced by hundreds of local employers.
"We're very proud of our members for reaching this amazing milestone," said Mary Beth Bolton, MD, FACP, Chief Medical Officer at HAP. "But this is more than just a weight loss story. By taking control of their weight, our members are also taking control of their health and reducing their risk for serious, chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and certain types of cancers."
From July 2007 to July 2008, 16,770 HAP members lost 162,897 pounds, with an average weight loss of 9.71 pounds per person. Preliminary program results show a 13 percent reduction in inpatient hospital visits, nine percent reduction in emergency room visits, five percent reduction in office visits, improved blood glucose levels for diabetics and improved total cholesterol levels among HAP members enrolled in Weight Watchers from July through December 2007 (compared to baseline data from July 2006 to June 2007).
According to Bolton, hundreds of HAP members have written letters to thank the health plan for giving them a financial incentive to lose weight and improve their health. As a result of their weight loss, they say they have less joint pain and acid reflux. Some have even been able to stop taking medication to treat their high blood pressure and cholesterol.
"Everyone deserves to have a happy and healthy life from the inside out," said Weight Watchers Group CEO and President Florine Mark. "Our customers care about keeping weight off for the long haul. Weight Watchers partnered with HAP to offer members guidance and support while they learn how to lose weight, exercise and make smarter food choices."
HAP is the only Michigan health plan to partner with Weight Watchers to offer this deeply discounted program in which eligible plan members may enroll in up to four, 12-week Weight Watchers sessions per lifetime for just per session, as opposed to the regular 0 cost. HAP pays the entire balance.
Metro Detroit employers are embracing the program as a low-cost wellness solution for their employees. Hundreds of companies offer Weight Watchers at Work so their employees may participate in the convenience of their worksite; others offer incentives such as "Biggest Loser" contests, walking competitions, fitness reimbursement programs and more.
Employees at Greater Media Detroit, a HAP employer customer, have lost almost 700 pounds – or "2,736 sticks of butter" as they like to say – since the company launched the Weight Watchers at Work program. Lisa Drummond, Director of Creative Services at Greater Media Detroit thanked HAP and Weight Watchers "on behalf of all the losers at Greater Media Detroit who are now smarter, more active and 694 pounds lighter."
"You've given us the tools we need to live healthier and happier," Drummond said.
As a result of a successful year-long pilot program, HAP announced that it will continue to offer this discount program for a limited time. Eligible plan members who attend 10 of 12 meetings during a session can join as many as four 12-week sessions per lifetime for just per session.
For more information, HAP HMO, POS, MPSERS (Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System), Casino (MGM, Motor City, Greek Town), Medicare Complimentary HMO and Ford Motor Company retiree plan members can contact HAP Client Services at 1-800-422-4641 or go to www.hap.org and click on "Weight Management" from the home page. Or to enroll, call (888) 3-FLORINE or enroll online at www.8883florine.com. Members can also show their HAP ID card at any Weight Watchers® meeting location in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Monroe, Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Washtenaw and St. Clair counties.
Headquartered in Detroit, Health Alliance Plan is a nonprofit health plan serving 535,000 members and 2,000 employer groups. HAP is a subsidiary of the Henry Ford Health System, one of the nation's leading regional health care systems. The health plan serves individuals and companies of all sizes through the flagship HMO, PPOs, and Medicare plans. The National Committee for Quality Assurance awarded HAP's commercial HMO and HAP Senior Plus, its Medicare Advantage HMO, Excellent Accreditation. Visit www.hap.org for more information.
About Weight Watchers
Headed by Mark, Weight Watchers (The WW Group, Inc.) throughout Southeast Michigan and Ontario is recognized as the trusted name in weight loss and the global leader in weight-loss services. Weight Watchers holds nearly 1,000 traditional and AT WORK meetings each week at its centers in those areas. Weight Watchers is committed to helping people live healthier lives through awareness, support and sharing innovative ideas about healthy eating and lifestyle. To learn more about Weight Watchers in your region, visit www.8883florine.com or call 1-888-3-FLORINE.
For more information:
Tiffany Baker, MA
HAP Public Relations Specialist
WW Media Relations Specialist