Frequently Asked Questions
- I have a "wellness module" that is part of my existing health insurance/administration provider arrangement. What additional value can Medforma give my company and my employees?
- How are Medforma, Health Portrait, and Stanford School of Medicine Prevention Research Center related?
- How does Health Portrait help employees make real measurable healthy behavior changes?
- What health improvement can I expect to see over time with our employees?
- How can I try out Health Portrait?
- What is the Medforma blog?
- How can I be assured of confidentiality of employee data?
- Is the Health Portrait program HIPAA complaint?
- Is the Health Portrait program GINA compliant?
- Does Medforma offer on site biometric testing? How is that handled?
I have a "wellness module" that is part of my existing health insurance/administration provider arrangement. What additional value can Medforma give my company and my employees?
In the spirit of improving wellness, many insurance companies, health plans, disease management companies, and other firms are providing some tools to provide wellness information and help improve the wellness of employee populations.
There are many reasons why companies choose to provide Health Portrait in addition to exiting offerings from other providers.
First, only Medforma Health Portrait is based on the Stanford School of Medicine Prevention Research Center proven behavior change methodology.
In addition, if you change health insurance/administration providers, with Medforma Health Portrait, your employees' wellness data and tool set will continue seamlessly.
Also, some insurance and health plan companies may use wellness assessment tools to assist in risk rating employees and companies to support premium increases. Medforma/Health Portrait/Stanford Medical School program data is confidential and secure for your employees (individual data) and for the employer (group data). We are only affiliated with the Stanford Prevention Research Center and have NO affiliation with any insurance or health plan company.
One final reason to consider Health Portrait? Your return on investment is estimated at $500 to $1000 per employee!
Medforma was established in 2001 as a health company dedicated to improving employee wellness, increase employee productivity, and decrease employer health costs.
Health Portrait is Medforma's product, an internet based employee wellness assessment and behavior change tool set that employers can purchase for their employees. The product also includes information for employers about their employee population that can be extremely valuable for discussions with insurance companies as well as to determine focus areas for corporate health improvement initiatives.
Medforma holds an exclusive license to the renowned Stanford School of Medicine Prevention Research Center's health assessment and behavior change tools. So, when you and your employees use Health Portrait, they are using Stanford's cutting edge tools.
How does it work? How does Health Portrait help employees make real measurable healthy behavior changes?
Getting started with Health Portrait is easy! Employers sign up for the service and enter their employees (at the current time, we will help you get your employees entered as we make the self-service aspects of our product more robust!)
Employees then register themselves, and get going. The tool set will first take employees through a health assessment process, a readiness for change process, and then suggested behavior change "kits" based on where the employee could benefit from change and for which the employee is ready for change. For example, if Susan is a smoker who has had difficulty quitting, the assessment process may assess that Susan is more ready to address the stresses in her life and improve in that area before she will be able to successfully address her smoking addiction.
Over time, employees come back to the tool set to give updates to their health biometrics and their daily habits.
Employees can also print off an individualized report for their primary care physician and they receive positive reinforcement when they make healthy improvements.
The Stanford Prevention Research Center is world renowned in its behavior change understanding and methodology...this world-class methodology is really unique to Medforma Health Portrait.
What health improvement can I expect to see over time with our employees?
Every group of people is different, so as you might expect, we would love to, but we cannot guarantee results. However, we can tell you about results your group achieves overtime and that others have had!
For the base of 30,000 employees who have used Health Portrait, employers saw decreases in all high risk health behaviors (depression, high stress, weight, tobacco use, high blood pressure, poor exercise, and high cholesterol) measured by Health Portrait.
How can I try out Health Portrait?
We offer a free trial - no credit card required! We would love to have you try out Health Portrait and Group Portrait Developer for yourself. Visit our free trial & pricing page to get started.
What is the Medforma blog?
At Medforma, we are dedicated to improving the health and wellness of employees, reducing health care costs for employers, and improving employee productivity. To that end, we want to help provide healthy information that is readily accessible for anyone. We also realize that because our health care system in the United States can be complex, we will also offer our interpretation of news as it relates to health care costs and health care reform.
We welcome all comments to our blog and let us know if you have topic of interest and we will be happy to research it and consider posting about it for you.
How can I be assured of confidentiality of employee data?
Medforma users are allowed to create their own username and password that grants them access to the Medforma programs. The employee login is affiliated with a company ID in order to provide the employer with aggregate management reports but no individually identifying information is shared with the corporation. This enables the employee to be able to participate openly and honestly in order to get the most out of their health improvement experience.
All employee data is stored on Medforma's servers in a secure hosting environment that utilizes state-of-the-art firewalls and intrusion detection systems to ensure network integrity. No data collected by Medforma is shared with any third party without the written consent of the user.
Is the Health Portrait program Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant?
In December 2006, the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Labor and Health & Human Services set forth provisions that regulate how employers implement wellness program. The regulations ensure that similarly situated individuals are not being charged different insurance premiums based on differences in health status. Because Medforma is not an insurance provider, many of the HIPAA regulations do not apply to the program except when it comes to offering employees incentives for participation in our programs. A key component in successful wellness programs is employee participation, and in order to drive participation, some employers find incentives to be an effective method to increase participation. Some employers take incentives beyond participation to actually reward a health factor change (for example, reducing cholesterol levels to acceptable ranges, 10% weight loss, or quitting smoking as opposed to participating in a nutrition, weight loss or smoking cessation program). Providing incentives for a health factor change is allowed by law but is subject to federal regulations set forth in the HIPAA portability provisions document.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor website, there are five requirements for wellness programs which base a reward on satisfying a standard related to a health factor:
- The total reward for all the plan's wellness programs that require satisfaction of a standard related to a health factor is limited - generally, it must not exceed 20 percent of the cost of employee-only coverage under the plan. If dependents (such as spouses and/or dependent children) may participate in the wellness program, the reward must not exceed 20 percent of the cost of the coverage in which an employee and any dependents are enrolled.*
- The program must be reasonably designed to promote health and prevent disease.
- The program must give individuals eligible to participate the opportunity to qualify for the reward at least once per year.
- The reward must be available to all similarly situated individuals. The program must allow a reasonable alternative standard (or waiver of initial standard) for obtaining the reward to any individual for whom it is unreasonably difficult due to a medical condition, or medically inadvisable, to satisfy the initial standard.
- The plan must disclose in all materials describing the terms of the program the availability of a reasonable alternative standard (or the possibility of a waiver of the initial standard).
*The percentage amount allowed for the reward is subject to change from 20 to 30-50% under Health Care Reform.
Medforma provides its clients with guidance to ensure all incentive programs affiliated with the Medforma/Stanford wellness program are compliant; however, the majority of the compliance falls on the employer since it is up to the employer to distribute the incentives. For more information, please see the HIPAA FAQ on the Department of Labor website.
Is the Health Portrait program compliant with the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)?
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) is an Act of Congress designed to prohibit the improper use of genetic information in health insurance and employment. "Genetic information" includes family medical history and information regarding individuals' and family members' genetic tests and genetic services. GINA prohibits group health plans and health insurers from denying coverage to a health individual or charging that person higher premiums based solely on a genetic disposition to developing a disease in the future. The legislation also prohibits employers from using individuals' genetic information when making hiring, firing, job placement or promotion decisions.
Because Medforma is not a health plan or health insurer, nor does Medforma provide any information on individual users to the employer, Medforma's programs are GINA compliant. The Stanford Health & Lifestyle Assessment asks employees about their family health history only to provide feedback to the individual employee on whether or not he or she is at risk for certain diseases because family history is a predictor of risk for developing disease. Family history information is kept confidential between the employee and Medforma, and family history information is not shared with the employer in Medforma's aggregate management reports.
Does Medforma offer on site biometric testing? How is that handled?
Medforma does not conduct on site biometric testing as it is our philosophy and that of Stanford that employees get their biometrics tested under the direction of a primary care physician. (Biometrics includes height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and body fat percentage.) If, however, a company wishes to conduct a health fair in order to raise awareness of health improvement, Medforma can arrange and recommend third party companies to conduct the biometric screenings. Medforma always recommends using health professionals to conduct the screenings so employees' results are interpreted and questions are answered correctly.
Last updated: March 2011.