Liberty Mutual is self-insured, which means that it pays not only a portion of the cost of each employee’s health plan, but also pays the medical expenses related to each claim. Blue Cross Blue Shield is used as an administrator to handle the billing and coordination, but at the end of the day Liberty pays the bill on health insurance. As such the company is always trying to reduce the cost of medical claims for itself and this year started a health incentive program. If you take a survey and get a biometric screening, the company will cut you a check. If you smoke or have other pre-existing conditions (i.e. diabetes) you can get additional money by quitting or managing them. If your spouse is on your insurance plan, you can get additional money for them as well. The program is completely voluntary and you are not penalized for not participating.
As an information-driven person (and someone who won’t pass up “free” money), I decided to participate. I completed my biometric screening on Wednesday, which consisted of making an appointment at a lab and having them take my height, weight, blood pressure, and a vial of blood. It only took about 30 minutes and it was right around the corner from work. It’s been two days and I have received my results. The good news: I’m alive.
Overall I’m very healthy, which is a good thing. My triglycerides (a measure of how well your body processes fat), total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (the kind you don’t want a lot of), cholesterol ratio (LDL to HDL), and glucose (blood sugar) are all in the low-to-middle range of the normal spectrum. My blood pressure is really good, 93/63 (target is under 120/80 so I’m barely alive), probably because my heart beats slower than average. My HDL cholesterol (the kind you want a lot of) is in the normal range, but very close to the bottom of it. I certainly don’t eat enough fish or other foods with good fats. My BMI is actually near the “overweight” range at 24.1 (should be under 24.9) but it doesn’t account for bone or muscle mass. While I certainly have fat to lose, I also have some muscle and dense bones.
I’m pretty excited about the results so far. The report is really good and explains all of the values and what they mean as well as provides tips to make improvements. I’m going to try to raise my HDL and see what I can do about that BMI. I’ve been successfully exercising since January and I’m feeling good about it. It has been really difficult to fit it in since the boys were born but I’ve been able to find a spot for it now that things are calming down just a little. I usually do either 20 minutes on the elliptical in the bedroom or 20 – 30 minutes of shadowboxing/pull-ups/resistance bands while watching TV in the living room. I’ve made it to the point (save for some weeks of sickness) where I exercise 4-5 out of 7 days a week. It’s not a lot of exercise at one time but I’m starting to see results which is great. The biometric screening only helps me target. Hopefully I can take one in a year or two and see improvements. Until then I’m still in a good spot.