Unifrax, Inc.

"Insulating Against High Health Care Costs"

Unifrax Corporation is a world-wide leader in manufacturing high-temperature insulation products, but insulating itself from high healthcare expenses over the years was proving to be a continuous challenge.

At its New Carlisle, IN facility, projections showed that insurance premiums would rise an average of 15.6% each year, indicating that premiums would reach a staggering $2.5 million within 6 years. To preserve its position as a leading global corporation, something had to be done to curb the costs and prevent the employees from becoming increasingly unhealthy. It became clear that an investment in proactive company wellness initiatives was the key to reversing the trend, and after several years of careful research, Unifrax’s New Carlisle facility chose to work with On-Site Health to gain a healthier and more productive workforce.

With generous rewards and a company-wide commitment to the effort, a bold multi-year program was launched whereby on-site health screenings were provided to help employees and their spouses to establish personal and company-wide baselines; six months later and every year thereafter, the nurses would return to reassess, and sizable dollar amounts could be awarded to each employee and each insured spouse. One-by-one, OHS nurses began educating and encouraging participants to make healthy changes where they were needed. A new tobacco-free workplace policy was put in place, and OHS-led cessation classes were offered to help tobacco users kick their habits. Other higher-risk participants followed up with the nurses in a case management setting in order to develop personal plans of action…and to keep the “good health” culture high-profile for all, on-site lunch-and-learn seminars served to keep the group’s top health risks at bay.

The hard work paid off quickly. Results from the next year’s screenings showed that company as a whole had improved in 16 health categories! Those screened in both years improved even further, and results in the third year showed maintenance of much of the initial progress with particular improvement in the program’s three targeted health categories.

Beyond the typical health screening, Unifrax continues to tackle its healthcare challenge head-on with consistent “lunch-and-learn” health seminars, weight loss competitions, personal fitness coaching, and case management follow-up. This corporation has effectively implemented a complete employee wellness program that deserves recognition, promises continued good results, and receives high marks from the employees and spouses. Their motivation and concern for their work force is a great model for other businesses looking to insulate themselves from the high cost of employee healthcare.