HR’s 'Be in the Know' program offers cash incentives for health

The “Be in the Know” biometric health screening program offered by Penn’s Division of Human Resources (HR) is back for the third consecutive year with higher cash incentives—up to $135— and a new educational component. 

Biometric screenings will be provided through Friday, Dec. 5, to benefits-eligible employees at no cost at several convenient campus locations. The screenings test blood pressure, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and blood sugar (glucose levels). 

Online registration for screenings is available at the HR website. The program is completely confidential. AreUFit, Penn’s third-party screening partner, manages the screening sessions. 

Individual screenings take just 15 minutes, says Susan Sproat, executive director of HR Benefits. She says sessions tend to be more crowded at the beginning of each hour; participating employees should be sure to bring their PennCard.

“You’ll sign a consent form for the tests being performed and to release the results to Penn’s health partner StayWell,” Sproat says. “It generally takes five minutes for the test and then a short wait for the results.” AreU Fit health educators will be on hand to discuss results with those who undergo screenings. 

From Jan. 12 through Feb. 27, “Be in the Know” participants can begin the second step of the program by completing an online health assessment through Penn’s wellness portal, hosted by StayWell. A brief questionnaire provides a personalized report on a person’s health status and health risks, and recommends behavioral changes to improve overall health. 

After completing both parts of the “Be in the Know” program, participants will receive a $100 cash incentive (less taxes) in their April paycheck. The names of returning “Be in the Know” 2012 or 2013 participants will also be placed in a raffle drawing for iPads and Fitbits. 

Employees can forego the onsite screenings and still get credit for being in the know by using a Health Screenings Documentation Form, available at the HR website, to submit test results performed between July 1 and Dec. 23 from their health care provider. 

For the 2014-15 campaign, employees will receive an additional cash incentive of $35 in their April or May paycheck when they participate in the new “Use What You Know-With Bonus Actions” program component between Jan. 12 and April 30.

The qualifying bonus activities include the Time Out for Health Wellness Challenge, Healthy Living Program, NextSteps Tobacco Cessation Program Online, Health Coach telephone sessions, and online classes on topics such as nutrition, stress, and sleeping. 

Since the “Be in the Know” program began in 2012, Sproat says 6,200 people have participated.

“We’re hoping to get that many this year,” she says. “We offer retirement medical benefits to employees so our long-term goal is that everyone retires healthy.”

The aggregated data on employee health will allow Penn to compare annual results to determine if faculty and staff health status is improving, staying the same, or declining. This enables the University to develop programs and educational opportunities to address specific areas of health risk. Penn’s overall goal is to have happy, healthy, and productive faculty and staff. 

For more information contact Penn’s Wellness Specialist Chris Hyson at

Be in the Know story