Being involved in workplace wellness helped save my life

I had just given birth to my fourth child when internal bleeding began, requiring emergency surgery and transfusions of five units of blood and two units of platelets. Doctors told me after, if I hadn’t been healthy before this happened, I might not be here.

So if I didn’t believe before that wellness makes a difference, as a workplace wellness coordinator, I really do now. Being healthy saved my life.

That experience motivates me to advocate workplace wellness even more. What I have learned over the years is that a one-size wellness program doesn’t fit all. Employees and employers need to work together to develop programs and opportunities that make sense for them.

The workplace wellness program at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska offers an environment that allows me and my fellow employees to stay healthy with an onsite fitness facility, health screenings, an onsite cafeteria with healthy food options and a variety of other wellness offerings.

To achieve the most value from workplace wellness, get to know your audience.

What are their needs and goals? When is the best time for them to attend? Will opening up the program to their families increase participation and provide more value?

The feedback shouldn’t stop after a program is started. Consider forming a wellness committee to get ongoing input from employees. The committee will provide valuable information about how the program is being received and how it can be improved.

When it comes to actually being involved in a wellness program what should you expect? Why should you participate? You will only get out of it what you put in to it, so get engaged and be honest with yourself about your goals! You could experience these three results right away:

>> Increase in mood, happiness and overall life satisfaction

>> Increase in your health

>> Decrease in stress

A growing number of employers are offering a broad range of benefits under the label workplace wellness – and for good reason. As an employer, there is measureable value as a result of a successful workplace wellness program:

>> Increase in health of employees

>> Decrease in medical care costs

>> Increase in employee satisfaction

>> Decrease in attrition

>> Increase in productivity

Thanks to leading a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a positive attitude, I am still here today. My employer knows my health makes a difference to them as well. Yours can, too.

Lori Thomas, BCBSNE Wellness Coordinator



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.