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Cleveland Clinic employees get healthier, lower insurance costs

The Plain Dealer, October 19, 2011

Starting four years ago, the Cleveland Clinic stopped hiring smokers, launched a healthy-food initiative and removed sugared beverages from its campuses. The Clinic's Chief Executive Dr. Toby Cosgrove endured national criticism as a health zealot and fast-food hater who was over-stepping his bounds as an employer. Now, Cosgrove and the Clinic's 41,000 employees are enjoying the results: Healthcare costs are flattening. "We changed the environment so it's easy to stay healthy; It's hard to get unhealthy," said Dr. Michael Roizen, the Clinic's Chief Wellness Officer and national guru on all things healthy. Across the country the average health insurance premium for family coverage rose 9% this year. At the Clinic, some employees haven't paid a premium increase in two years.