Originally posted September 17, 2014 by Nick Otto on http://ebn.benefitnews.com.
A panel of U.S. companies representing more than 1 million active employees and another 50 million retirees across the globe convened Tuesday in Washington, D.C. to unveil a campaign aimed at reducing the nation???s health care costs.

With an eye to the efforts near and dear to benefits managers across the country, the industry leaders are urging their peers to embrace wellness programs and improve employee health.

Current council members, calling themselves The CEO Council on Health and Innovation, include executives from: Verizon Communications, Aetna, Bank of America, Walgreen, McKinsey & Co, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Coca-Cola, the Institute for Advanced Health and Johnson & Johnson ??? the most recent addition.

Working in partnership with the D.C.-based Bipartisan Policy Center, the council called on employers to accelerate the adoption of comprehensive wellness programs that will tackle four areas of wellness the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say are the leading reasons for developing chronic disease: inactivity, poor nutrition, tobacco use and frequent alcohol consumption.

Half of all Americans have at least one chronic disease, says Jason Grumet, president of the BPC and moderator at the event. Grumet says that the major employers taking part in the CEO Council represent a unique combination of good ideas with great people who have the ability to get things done, he said.

Lowell McAdam, chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications, says technology and wearable devices are going to be some of the biggest wellness tools of the future. McAdam says the company is already using technology-enabled, mobile health clinics to connect children with quality health care, as well as employing remote monitoring tools to enable seniors with chronic conditions.

Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, says his company uses incentivizing measures to help employees maintain their health. The bank provides additional funding for biometric screenings, and each year, if an employee remains at or below their numbers, health care costs will remain flat the following year.

Along with issuing a joint report, BPC launched an interactive Web site containing a slew of resources to support implementation of new programs among other employers.