It’s no secret that unhealthy living habits are driving up the costs of health care for everyone — plans and families alike. Uniform Medical Plan (UMP) has implemented a new program to help keep the cost of medical care more affordable. 

With UMP’s Health Counts! wellness program, you can earn points for healthy behaviors like getting preventive screenings, exercising and eating right. Once you score 100 points, UMP will mail you $30. Here’s what you do to earn your reward:

• Register for Health Counts! by logging on to the UMP home page at www.ump.hca.wa.gov
• Click on “My Medical Account”
• Log into your medical account. If you don’t already have an account, select “Register Now”

Once you’re in your online account, take the e-Health Survey, which is required and earns you 30 points. After you complete the survey, click on your scorecard and you will automatically see your points. Report your healthy behaviors on the scorecard and it will keep track of all your points.

Don’t worry if you don’t earn 100 points right away, you can return to your scorecard later to report healthy behavior changes. You will receive your check about four weeks after you’ve earned 100 points.

All UMP enrollees ages 18 and older are eligible to enroll in Health Counts! The program is open to subscribers and adult dependents.  

If you are unable to earn Health Counts! points because of a medical condition, call UMP at 800-762-6004 and they will work with you to develop another way for you to qualify.

Below are a few suggestions for creating a healthier lifestyle and getting closer to your 100-point Health Counts! goal.

Help for tobacco users
Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but studies show that people are two to three times more likely to quit successfully with help — such as training, counseling or medication. That’s why UMP covers the Free and Clear tobacco cessation program in full, including the cost of medications recommended by the program.

Because quitting smoking is one of the most effective things you can do to improve your health, tobacco users must participate in the Free and Clear program to receive the $30 from UMP Heath Counts! in addition to taking the e-Health survey. Participation in the Free and Clear program will earn you 70 points on you scorecard.

Register for the Free and Clear program by calling 1-866-QUIT-4 LIFE or @ ONLINE: www.freeclear.com/ump

Practical tips for staying healthy
Eat your fruits and vegetables every day. According to the American Cancer Society, a diet high in fruits and vegetables can help prevent cancer. Here are some easy ways to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet:
• Serve fresh fruit and raw vegetables at meetings for work instead of cookies.
• Add fruits or veggies on almost anything you eat. Add raspberries or bananas to your breakfast cereal, spinach and peppers to your pizza, lettuce and tomatoes to your sandwich.
• Choose smart snacks such as carrots or an apple.
• Buy fresh produce in season for peak flavor and value.

Schedule routine checkups
Go to the doctor for routine preventive exams, screenings and tests. Here’s a guide to help you stay on track:
• Physical exam every 12 months: Early detection of problems can save your health and save you money.
• Cholesterol test every 5 years: This simple test can save your life. High cholesterol increases your risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke.
• Colorectal screening starting at age 50, then every 10 years: This screening can identify colon and rectal cancers before you notice symptoms.
For women:
• Mammograms: These tests help detect tumors when they are small and more treatable. Early detection can save your life.
• Cervical screenings: Prevent cervical cancer with regular Pap tests by identifying cervical cell changes before they become cancerous.

Get more exercise; here’s how:
• Grab a co-worker and take a quick walk around the block.
• Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
• If you take the bus, get off at a stop several blocks from your destination.
• Exercise while watching TV.