Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation

Physicians Plus Rewards its Employees for Healthy Commuting Habits

Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation of Madison, Wisconsin, is a nationally recognized managed care organization focused on providing high-quality, innovative products and services that help improve the health of their members and the community. Founded in 1986 and owned in part by Meriter Health Services and local physicians, Physicians Plus provides health insurance to over 100,000 members in south central Wisconsin.

Like many other businesses in downtown Madison, P+ faces a parking challenge. Employee parking options in the Chase Bank building and Madison City Parking Ramp are both limited and costly. Fortunately, P+’s location on the Capitol Square makes commuting by Metro Transit bus a viable alternative to driving alone. The company provides free bus passes to reward employees who choose Metro Transit. It’s a win-win option for employer and employee. With a free bus pass, employees get a $55 per month tax-free transportation benefit. At the same time, P+ gets a tax deduction for the expense and enjoys savings on payroll-related taxes.

P+ also offers its employees the option to “cash out” of their existing parking space. The parking cash-out program allows them to choose from the following options: 1.Keep their parking space or 2.Give up the parking space and receive a certain amount each month in taxable salary. Visit www.commuterchoice.com to learn how employers that provide a transportation or parking cash out benefit can realize significant savings over offering the equivalent dollar value to employees in the form of a salary increase. The federal tax code offers financial incentives related to commuter benefits for employers and employees through the Commuter Choice Program.

Some P+ employees choose to work a compressed work week, reducing their car expenses and at the same time reducing air pollution. Flexible work hours are also an option. Variable start and end times can help accommodate their bus, carpool or vanpool schedules. P+ is friendly to bike commuters; they can park their bikes in the racks provided, shower and store their belongings in lockers. P+ offers a Guaranteed Ride Home Program for employees who rideshare, bus, bike, or walk to work. A free taxi ride home, to the doctor, day care center—or wherever—is available if an emergency comes up on a day when an employee has left the car at home, giving them peace of mind.

An annual survey of employees shows that many of them choose to commute without their cars. This saves them money and is healthy for our community. In Dane County, air pollution from vehicle exhaust now causes 50% of our total air pollution, so reducing car trips is key to protecting our air. Employers like P+ can play a key role by giving their employees financial incentives.

Contact us for free commuting assistance at your work site.