Frequently Asked Questions – New employee health & well-being program

Below you’ll find answers to some frequently asked questions about the new King County Employee Health & Well-Being program. We’ll continue to update this post as more questions come in.

Q: What does this mean for my benefits in 2019? Will I need to do anything to determine the color level for my benefits?

A: In 2019, employees* will have Gold level benefits. You will not need to take a Wellness Assessment or complete an Individual Action Plan to get low out-of-pocket costs or a low deductible. Bronze and Silver tiers are going away.

* Applies to non-represented employees and members of KCPOG, ATU, and unions that have formally signed the 2017-2018 JLMIC benefits agreement.

Q: What does this mean for my benefits in 2018? Is there anything I need to do?

A: Color levels for 2018 medical benefits were determined based on your participation in Healthy Incentives in 2017. During the Open Enrollment period this past November, your out-of-pocket expense levels in KingCare and Kaiser Permanente plans were based on the color level you already earned. You can check your 2018 benefit color level by contacting the King County Benefits office.

Q: Where can I learn more about the new program and how can I offer feedback and input?

A: We’d love to hear from you and want to make sure you feel connected to the next steps. Here’s how:

  • Email us: For now, our email address will still be Contact us any time to ask a question, share your ideas, or offer up a suggestion.
  • Follow our blog: Get updates, FAQs, and more on the status of creating a new program. Follow us or check back to learn more!
  • Visit our site: For now, we’ll continue to maintain the Healthy Incentives website where you can find information on the progress we’re making toward a new program. The site will be “under construction” while we add new programs and services, so please pardon our dust!
  • Call us: If you’d prefer to have a conversation about your thoughts or ideas, please call 206-263-8222.

Q: I really liked the Wellness Assessment. Is there someplace else I can take one?

A: Yes! All of our health plans offer health assessments, which you can access any time throughout the year.

Kaiser Permanente (SmartCare) members have access to many wellness resources, including an online health risk assessment questionnaire that produces an online report about your health status. Kaiser encourages its members to fill this out every year so you can track your progress.

Regence members (KingCare & KingCare Select) can go online and create an account. You’ll see links to the Wellness Tools, Start Earning Rewards, and/or the General Health Assessment. You can take the assessment, create a wellness plan, track your progress, and access various wellness resources.

Q: When will the new program start?

A: The new program is scheduled to launch in March 2018. Until then, many of the programs you already enjoy will continue to be available to you. Check out this post to learn more about current programs and opportunities.

Q: I liked the Individual Action Plan because it helped me stay focused throughout the year. Are their resources to help me if I want to create a plan on my own?

A: Yes! Visit our website or the blog to learn more about activities and programs that will be available in 2018.

Q: Why is Healthy Incentives going away? What are the reasons for the change?

A: There are a few reasons for change:

  • You told us to make a change. Earlier in 2017, we reached out to employees to gather input and feedback. Through in-person discussion groups and a survey, more than 2,400 of you told us what you think. Working together, we can create a program that focuses on the “whole” you. Learn more about what we heard during the input process here.
  • The award-winning Healthy Incentives℠ program is more than 10 years old. The early years of the program were associated with improved health and cost savings, but in recent years, the program has grown out of step with research and has lost its momentum.
  • The current approach of one program for all employees is no longer working. Through research around equity and social justice, we see an opportunity to reduce the inequities in health and well-being and to customize our overall approach for different employee groups.
  • While we have a high participation rate for the current program, a refresh of the program will give employees an opportunity to engage in new ways, while continuing to offer many programs that employees enjoy.



4 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions – New employee health & well-being program

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  1. This seems to be a lot of general information, however, I’m not seeing what the changes in benefits will be or actually, how we will be affected by this change. Is the name of the insurance company going to be different?

    1. Thank you for the question! The important change to know about is that starting in 2018 benefits-eligible employees will no longer need to complete a Healthy Incentives Wellness Assessment or engage in an Individual Action Plan to earn a color level (Bronze, Silver, or Gold) for the following year. This change has no impact on what’s covered in your health plan. You can learn more about your medical plan benefits by going to or contacting Benefits at 206-684-1556. The two companies that administer King County medical benefit plans — Regence BlueShield, who administers KingCare and KingCare Select, and Kaiser Permanente, who administers SmartCare — are not changing.

    1. Thank you for the question! Thanks to the collaborative effort between labor partners and King County, KING COUNTY EMPLOYEES* WILL HAVE GOLD LEVEL BENEFITS IN 2019. In 2018, you will not need to take a Wellness Assessment or engage in an Individual Action Plan. Bronze and Silver tiers are going away.

      *Applies to non-represented employees and members of KCPOG, ATU, and unions that have formally signed the 2017-2018 JLMIC benefits agreement.

      Please feel to email or call us if you still have questions – or 206-263-8222

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