Wellness program cuts health care costs

WELL ADVANTAGE PROGRAM* In-house pharmacy for city employees to get prescription drugs at discounted prices. About 200 prescriptions a day are filled.* Medical clinic where doctors and nurses provide quick-care services to about 50 patients a day, not including occupational visits.* Rewards for employees who quit smoking, exercise and practice other healthy habits.* Fitness center allows city employees to work out near where they work. The center attracts about 50 users on a typical day.

Chattanooga may be facing higher costs next year for more police officers, pension benefits and stormwater cleanup, but the city's fiscal health is getting some help from the health of its employees.

The city's health insurance costs are projected to decline slightly next year, according to estimates by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, which administers the program.