March 20, 2012

City of Chicago Announces Five Sister Agencies Have Joined Wellness Initiative

Additional 10,000 People Will be Eligible for Wellness Program, Pushing City into Lowest Cost Bracket and Increasing Taxpayer Savings

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO - The City of Chicago today announced that five sister agencies have joined the City’s Wellness initiative, and an additional 10,000 people will be eligible for the program. This will bring the total number of employees and eligible spouses to more than 45,000.

“The wellness of our workforce is a top priority for my administration,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The City’s Wellness Program will improve the quality of life for employees and their families and save taxpayer money on healthcare costs.  I am pleased that our sister agencies are joining with us in protecting the health of our employees.” 

The RFP issued by the City last year provided for eight levels of cost per participant, and each potential vendor was asked to submit a declining price scale based on the number of eligible employees and spouses. The highest level was “more than 45,000 Participants (City and Sister Agencies combined),” meaning that with this announcement, the City has guaranteed itself access to the lowest pricing level. 

“We are going to continue to work with the Sister Agencies and their unions in an effort to attract more people to the Wellness Program,” said Deputy Mayor Mark Angelson. “This is the right thing to do for the health of our employees, and will help us realize even greater savings in the future, as our employees live healthier lifestyles and our health care costs decline.” 

The additional persons joining the Wellness initiative today are employees of the Public Building Commission of Chicago; members of all three unions associated with the Chicago Park District and the Park District’s unrepresented workers, the unrepresented workers of the Chicago Housing Authority and 630 unrepresented employees of the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), pending the approval of the CCC board. Additionally, earlier this year the Chicago Public Schools announced that their unrepresented employees would be joining the Wellness initiative.  In accordance with standard Sister Agency contract approval procedure; these approvals are pending board ratification of the final contact where necessary under Sister Agency bylaws.

The Wellness program is one of the cost savings measures that made up more than $420 million in savings in the 2012 budget and is projected to save the City $20 million in the first year of the program, with dramatic increases in the future. The wellness program was announced this past summer, in a joint announcement between Mayor Emanuel and Jorge Ramirez, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor.

A request for proposals was released last fall, and bids were received in mid-December from 11 prospective vendors. The City will announce the winning vendor this spring and launch the Wellness Program this summer.


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