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Sysouk Shambounmy

Sysouk Khambounmy, graphic designer and fitness fanatic, looks forward to rewards of $40 a month for his family's membership at the Y with the new UPlan program in 2008.

Reward yourself

UPlan fitness rewards in 2008 will offset health club costs

By Betty Gilchrist and Susan Wiese

Brief, Oct. 31, 2007

Wouldn't it be great to be rewarded for getting to a fitness facility regularly?

Sysouk Khambounmy, a graphic designer in Printing Services on the Twin Cities campus, is pleased to learn that rewards are coming in the UPlan Wellness Program in 2008. Khambounmy and his wife, Phay, are self-described exercise fanatics with a family membership at the Andover YMCA that includes their two children.

"On average, we visit the Y five or six times a week," says Sysouk. "We already have a fitness program for being and staying active and living a healthy lifestyle. It is wonderful to see the U making a commitment to keeping employees healthy. I think everyone should take advantage of this new benefit."

The new benefit is the UPlan Fitness Rewards program, which links to two existing fitness incentive programs available through the HealthPartners and Medica medical plans. Starting in January, the program will pay back up to $20 a month in health club membership dues when you visit the facility a minimum of eight times each month.

Plan to attend the 2007 Employee Health and Benefits Fair. It's a great time to learn important information about your employee benefits and other U of M health and wellness programs. Stop by for free flu shots, healthy and tasty treats, free massages, prizes, and giveaways.

Thursday, Nov. 1
Ballroom, Kirby Student Center
10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 6
Great Hall, Coffman Union
10 a.m.-3 p.m.

UMTC-St. Paul
Wednesday, Nov. 7
North Star Ballroom, St. Paul Student Center
10 a.m.-3 p.m.

In Medica's Fit Choices, you can earn a reward of up to $20 each for two individual fitness facility memberships when you visit a participating fitness facility eight times a month. With a dual or family membership, you can earn only one $20 reward.

HealthPartners' Frequent Fitness program also reimburses up to $20 a month when you visit a participating fitness facility eight times a month. With a family membership, a second family member age 18 or older who works out eight times a month also earns a fitness reward of up to $20.

Khambounmy's family membership at the YMCA, for example, now costs about $98 per month. The new benefit will amount to a $40 credit against that monthly cost. The family's medical coverage is U Classic Plus by HealthPartners.

"That can really help our family's budget," Khambounmy says.

Chris T. Zuege, a project manager and customer relations specialist in the Office of Measurement and Services, is an avid soccer player and loves being outdoors. He thinks the University's financial support of an active lifestyle through the UPlan Fitness Rewards program is an amazing benefit.

"I'm not a big fan of winter," he says. With the onset of colder weather, he says his habits change and he tends to become more sedentary. The new benefit will make joining a fitness club affordable for him.

Chris T. Zuege
Chris T. Zuege plans to use the new benefit to sustain exercise through the winter months.

"Now I'll be able to move my routine indoors rather than shelving regular workouts until spring," says Zuege. "Once I choose a fitness facility to join, my goal will be to work out three times per week. The required eight visits per month are very do-able."

UPlan Fitness Rewards is available to employees, spouses and same-sex domestic partners, and dependents age 18 or older, who are enrolled in the UPlan Medical Program through Medica or HealthPartners.

Each person in the program will need to use a participating fitness facility. University recreational and fitness centers on the Twin Cities, Duluth, and Morris campuses are options. And both plans have large networks of participating clubs that feature hundreds of major and independently owned fitness facilities.

To participate in UPlan Fitness Rewards, you will sign up at your fitness facility--for Frequent Fitness in HealthPartners, or Fit Choices in Medica. When you exercise eight or more times in a month at that facility, you'll receive the fitness reward about two months later--for example, a January reward will be paid in March. The payment approach is determined by the fitness center: It may be a reduction in your fitness center monthly dues, or it may be a payment into your checking or savings account.

To find out whether the fitness facility of your choice participates in Frequent Fitness or Fit Choices, go to Fitness Rewards and follow the link to the complete list of participating fitness facilities in HealthPartners and Medica.

Betty Gilchrist is the Employee Benefits communications project manager and Susan Wiese is the Employee Wellness communications project manager in the Office of Human Resources, Twin Cities campus.