Wellness is like a marathon

When we start out to lose weight, we think in terms of pounds and weeks, and fitting into that dress for an event. It is a sprint toward an immediate goal.

But wellness, assessing where you are at, where you want to be and what you need to do to get there is a really a marathon. This is an analogy Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) wellness business consultants give inquiring companies that want to start a wellness program.

As health care costs continue to rise, companies are looking to reduce employee health care costs first and foremost. But the longer view can lead to even more substantial improvements. A healthy workforce has an increase in productivity, lower absenteeism and fewer worker compensation claims.

“The first thing we talk about is the need to create a wellness culture within their organization, that it is important to create a work environment where the healthy choice is the easy choice,” said Kathy Nellor, BCBSNE’s wellness business consultant. “We do an initial assessment of the overall health of a workforce, and then provide a plan of four to five objectives and the tools to get started.

The key is to invest in incentives for employees to take that first step toward wellness.

“Wellness doesn’t have to be expensive to get results,” said Nellor.

There are monthly health challenges that help in food portion control, increase consumption of fruits and vegetables and set walking goals of 30 minutes a day.

“The first step is always the most difficult, but we have hundreds of organizations across Nebraska that are taking the wellness challenge,” said Nellor.

It’s a race – a marathon – worth running.

For more information, contact Kathy Nellor at kathy.nellor@nebraskablue.com or 402-982-7777.

By Marcia Cady



The percentage of the bill you pay after your deductible has been met.


A fixed amount you pay when you get a covered health service.

Tiered benefit plan

A health care plan featuring multiple levels of benefits based on the network status of a particular provider. 


The annual amount you pay for covered health services before your insurance begins to pay.

emergency care services

Any covered services received in a hospital emergency room setting.


Includes behavioral health treatment, counseling, and psychotherapy

in-network provider

A provider contracted by your insurance company to accept an agreed upon payment for covered services. 

OUT-OF-network provider

A term for providers that aren’t contracting with your insurance company. (Your out-of-pocket costs will tend to be more expensive if you go to an out-of-network provider.)


Your expenses for medical care that aren’t reimbursed by insurance, including deductibles, coinsurance and co-payments.


If you can afford health insurance, but choose not to buy it, you must have a health coverage exemption or pay a tax penalty on your federal income tax return.


The amount you pay to your health insurance company each month. 

Preventive services

Health care services that focus on the prevention of disease and health maintenance.


Services and devices to help you recover if you are injured or have surgery. This includes physical, occupational and speech therapy.

special enrollment period

The time after the Open Enrollment Period when you can still purchase health insurance only if you have a qualifying life event (losing other health coverage, having a baby, getting married, moving).


A physician who has a majority of his or her practice in fields other than internal or general medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics or family practice.