Legislature Passes ‘Healthy Jobs Act,’ Creating Program For Improving Worker Health

State-Subsidized Program Will Launch Later This Year


Wisconsin’s small businesses have a new state-subsidized program to keep their workers healthy created by the “Healthy Jobs Act” – a rare example of the Legislature voting to unanimously approve a bill.

The act is aimed at businesses with 50 or fewer employees. One of its co-sponsors, state Sen. Terry Moulton, R-Chippewa Falls, says the goal is to head off chronic conditions like diabetes or smoking-related illnesses.

“75 percent of our health care costs are related to these chronic diseases which many times are related to poor eating habits, lack of physical activity, and tobacco use,” said Moulton. “ So if we can get employees much healthier, it’s not only going to help the employer reduce health care costs, but employees are going to be more productive, morale will probably be higher – more productivity.”

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Moulton says the Healthy Jobs Act will subsidize 30 percent of the cost to get workers check-ups and blood tests to detect chronic conditions. Moulton said the program, to be administered by the state Department of Health Services, will cost $3 million a year.

Moulton said large employers have realized the cost savings involved in prevention, and that is why this plan is targeted at small employers.

“The return on investment generally is anywhere from three to seven dollars for every one dollar invested,” said Moulton. “But sometimes it takes two to three years to get results, so sometimes small businesses don’t have the capital or the wherewithal to begin the program.”

Moulton says businesses can begin using the program later this year.