The City of Daytona Beach is renewing a program that will give free gym memberships to city employees and their dependents through the health insurance plan. City HR Director Jim Sexton hopes the program will save them money over the long term.
"The bottom line is that healthy employees are more productive employees."
Another way the city hopes the gym memberships will work is by slowing the premium increases seen in recent years by both the private and public sectors.
"It's really hard to say that because of the gym memberships our claims are going down, however, I can tell you last year our health insurance increase was zero and this year it's only point 9, so something is leading to that."
Sexton says when an employee or their dependent goes to work out, the health insurance company pays the gym out of the premium paid by employees, and of course you the taxpayer.
"If we can do things to prevent illnesses from happening, we end up saving money on the health insurance plan, which ultimately saves the taxpayer money."
Sexton though is unable to give out any kind of figure of how much the taxpayer is saving by this program. He is also unable to tell us just how much the city and/or insurance company is paying for city employees to use 40 gyms in the Daytona Beach area.
"Through Florida Health Plan has negotiated per use fees for each of those 40 gyms that are participating. So, when an employee goes, that gym receives X amount of dollars from Florida Health Care Plan. I don't know that dollar figure, but that's how that system is worked out."
The item is listed on the policy the city buys, but does not have a line item cost. The city does know how many trips to the gym employees and their dependents have taken over the course of the past year. Sexton admits the city would like that number to be higher.
The city will spend more than $7 million this year on health care for its employees and dependents. Plus employees also make contributions to their plans.