About 45,000 Iowans who purchased their health insurance through the Iowa Farm Bureau have an opportunity to participate in a first of it’s kind statewide program. David Lyons, the Farm Bureau’s chief business development officer, says it’s actually a pilot project involving wellness programming, information and access to a local "health coach" for one-on-one consultation.
The new program is offered free of charge to those 65 and younger who have Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Insurance through the Iowa Farm Bureau. Lyons says the health coaches will work with individual members to make sure they are using their health insurance and benefits effectively. "For example, our program has a $500 wellness account, where flu shots, check ups and preventative services are all zero co-pay. They’re something we want people to do and there’s no financial barrier to them taking advantage of it," Lyons said. "So, our health coaches are going to make sure that people are getting the maximum advantage out of the health coverage they already have."
The seven health coaches, working on a regional basis, will also connect members with local support, such as a dietician to assist with grocery shopping. Lyons says the dietician can teach members to "shop differently" to respond to any health issues an individual or family may be facing.
The wellness program will be monitored by the University of Michigan Health Management Research Center. "They’re going to be doing a major study. This is the first time that anyone’s attempted to have a statewide health coaching program of this type – working with individuals and families – rather than in a corporate setting," Lyons said. "So, it’s not just Farm Bureau that’s excited to see the outcome of this. There’s a lot of researchers watching the process because they’re hoping that this is going to be the model we can replicate in the future on a broader basis."
Iowa Farm Bureau members who are interested in taking advantage of the program call 1-866-598-3693 to receive more information.