Independent Health to Expand Wellness Program

Independent Health to Expand Wellness Program, Add New Product and Lower Rates for Individual and Small Groups in 2016

Buffalo, N.Y., October 30, 2015 – When the annual open enrollment begins on the New York State of Health Marketplace on Nov. 1, Independent Health’s offerings will include an enhanced wellness program, a new product and lower rates on its existing plans.

The enhanced wellness program – FitWorks Rewards – will provide subscribers and their spouse or domestic partner with incentives for completing a variety of clinical and activity-based challenges through this innovative online wellness program.

By completing claims-verified clinical activities such as a routine physical exam or age- and gender-specific screenings, i.e. a colonoscopy or mammogram, along with self-reported wellness challenges such as physical activity, eating fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep, participants will be eligible for rewards. These include drawings for $100 and $250 reward cards for health-related products and services including exercise equipment, and fruits and vegetables.

The premium rates for Independent Health’s individual and small group 2016 products will be significantly lower than current levels. Individual products will be an average of 15.6 percent lower than 2015 plans, and an average of 6.19 percent lower for small groups. Independent Health will introduce four new small group products for 2016, including two HSA-qualified plans on the Gold and Silver metal tier levels.

Independent Health will also offer the state’s new Essential Plan to individuals in Erie and Niagara counties who meet income and other qualifying guidelines.

Nora McGuire, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Independent Health, said the company is projecting continued growth in the individual and small group market next year, including the state’s official online Marketplace.

“Our combination of highly competitive rates, award-winning customer service, comprehensive benefits and wellness programs such as FitWorks Rewards, and an extensive provider network should prove very attractive to those shopping for coverage and researching not only cost, but value as well,” said McGuire. “We expect to see significant interest from former Health Republic of New York members as a result of the state-directed closure of the New York City-based health insurance co-operative announced in late September.”

The Essential Plan is a new program for eligible New Yorkers enrolling in coverage through the NY State of Health. It covers all of the essential health benefits provided under the Qualified Health Plans offered on the Marketplace, including inpatient and outpatient care, physician services, diagnostic services and prescription drugs, with no annual deductible and low out-of-pocket costs. Preventive care such as routine office visits and recommended screenings are free.

Other Essential plan highlights include premiums ranging from $0 to $20 per month, based on income and other eligibility requirements and New York State’s Standard Gym Benefit, with up to $200 worth of benefits in a six-month period.

Independent Health will offer four versions of the Essential Plan through the NY State of Health Marketplace in Erie and Niagara Counties. Eligibility for each plan varies, depending on state and federal guidelines, including income. Two of the plans also include vision, dental and over-the-counter drug coverage. The Fitworks Rewards program is not available as part of the Essential Plan because the plan has state-mandated benefit offerings.

About New York (NY) State of Health:
New York (NY) State of Health is an organized marketplace designed to help people shop for and enroll in health insurance coverage. Individuals, families and small businesses can use the Marketplace to help them compare insurance options, calculate costs and select coverage online, in-person, over the phone or by mail. The Marketplace helps people to check their eligibility for health care programs like Medicaid and sign up for these programs if they are eligible. The Marketplace also tells what type of financial assistance is available to applicants to help them afford health insurance purchased through the Marketplace. For further information visit

About Independent Health:
Independent Health, a not-for-profit health plan headquartered in Buffalo, New York, serves nearly 400,000 members and provides innovative health care products and benefits designed to engage consumers in their health and well-being. Established in 1980, our comprehensive portfolio of progressive products include HMO, POS, PPO and EPO products, Medicare and Medicaid plans, traditional indemnity insurance, individual and small group Exchange products, consumer-directed plans and health savings accounts, plus coverage for self-funded employers. Our subsidiaries and affiliate companies include pharmacy benefit management, specialty pharmacy and the Independent Health Foundation. The company has been recognized nationally for its award winning customer service, dedication to quality health care and unmatched relationships with physicians and providers. To learn more, go to