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An Industry First: New Cooper Health Company Makes Group Employee Benefits Consulting and Wellness Program Design a Package Deal
Date:10/26/2007

Cooper Benefits Helps Mid-Sized Companies Control Health Care Costs

DALLAS, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Founded by world-renowned "father of aerobics" Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., Cooper Aerobics Enterprises, Inc., announced today its first-ever acquisition in the company's 37-year history. Cooper Aerobics Enterprises purchased Health At Work, a licensed health, life and accident agent to create a new division, Cooper Benefits, LLC.

Cooper Benefits merges traditional employee benefits consulting with custom corporate wellness programs-a first in the industry. Cooper Benefits uses a portion of the commission revenue to reinvest in the company by providing a tailored wellness program, which in many cases is at no additional cost to the employer. This revolutionary funding model introduces 'bona fide' wellness programs (programs that are fair and equitable to all employees) to a new market segment of mid-sized employers-a group that historically has not been able to provide wellness programs to its staff.

"Cooper Benefits is the only company of its kind that provides employee benefits consulting and an embedded corporate wellness program," said Christian Moreno, VP, Cooper Benefits. "And it's blowing open the doors for mid-size employers to participate. Now human resources departments can receive practical advice on structuring employee benefits while also implementing a corporate wellness program without breaking the bottom line. No one else is making this a customized and affordable package deal."

Before Cooper Benefits recommends a health benefits package or begins designing a wellness program, Cooper staff administers employee health risk assessments and reviews the company's insurance claims, which reveal what's driving health care costs. From that information, Cooper's experts can customize a heath insurance plan and a wellness program that meets a company's and its employees' needs. As employees' health changes from year to year, the wellness offerings also change.

"Cooper Aerobics Center has been the proven leader in preventive medicine for more than 37 years. Who else is better positioned to help companies connect employee health with corporate health," said Tyler Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., staff physician at Cooper Clinic and president of Cooper Life health and wellness residential community at Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas. "Through Cooper Benefits, companies are more able to control spiraling health care costs and employees become healthier. That means increased employee attraction, retention and morale, as well as increased productivity and less absenteeism. Everyone benefits."

New IRS regulations are also making it easier by allowing companies to change the Health Insurance Premium differential among employees based on wellness program participation. And the IRS is now allowing corporate tax credits for companies offering wellness programs.

Alliance Systems in Plano has experienced firsthand the effects of what Cooper Benefits can provide companies. Last year Alliance linked its health insurance premium subsidies to a new wellness program. Approximately 70 percent of the company's 140 employees participate in the wellness program, which includes health risk assessments, educational seminars, and even the creation of their first-ever 5K walk. Executives also attended a "Fit to Lead" program.

"After watching my employees' health decrease and my heath care costs increase, I knew there had to be a better way," said John Shapiro, CEO of Alliance Systems. "Cooper Benefits addresses these problems by providing a broad solution top to bottom. They helped restructure our health insurance and implemented an employee wellness and rewards program. As a result, I've saved money, but more importantly, I've provided employees a better place to work and helped them become healthier."

Cooper Benefits' wellness services include a variety of options such as employee health assessments, on-site health fairs, educational seminars, smoking and weight management interventions, interactive Web tools, health information, and participation in Cooper Clinic's executive physical exam program.

In 1996, the U.S. spent $100 billion on health care. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the U.S. is projected to spend over $2.2 trillion on health care in 2007, or just under $7,500 per U.S. resident. More than 70 percent of chronic disease costs and death are caused by our lifestyles. Statistics show that healthy employees are up to twice as productive as unhealthy employees.

According to Wellness Council of America's 2006 survey, 91 percent of employers are pushing more of the cost of health care to their employees. Eighty-five percent of responding companies reported that they do not have the time or money to implement a robust wellness program.

Moreno added, "One of the main drivers of health insurance costs for an employer is the health of its employees. The only way to save companies and employees money is by improving individual health. Plus, the corporate community is expected to provide competitive benefits for their employees by offering wellness programs. Cooper Benefits can help make that happen."

Cooper Aerobics Enterprises is not disclosing the financials of the acquisition due to it being a privately-held company.

About Cooper Benefits

Co-founded by preventive medicine pioneer and "father of aerobics" Dr. Kenneth Cooper and his son Dr. Tyler Cooper, Cooper Benefits is one of 10 health companies, along with a nonprofit education and research institute, that makes up the world-renowned Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas and McKinney. Based on nearly four decades of health and wellness research and practice, Cooper Benefits combines traditional employee benefits consulting with custom corporate wellness programs. For more information, call (972) 560- 2690 or visit http://www.cooper-benefits.com.


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SOURCE Cooper Aerobics Center
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