Organizations are no longer able to trim extra savings out of their medical
insurance programs, and most organizations have been cost shifting, asking staff
members to cover more of their health care costs. Health insurance costs continue
to climb (10% or more per year) at 2-3 times the general inflation rate. With
nowhere else to turn, businesses are – more than ever – looking
to get staff members engaged in Employee Wellness Programs as a means of slowing
health care costs and improving productivity.
For example, last year 53% of large businesses provided health risk assessments
(HRAs) for their staff, up from 35% just two years earlier, according to a Mercer
survey. Change is being driven by cost, but Employee Wellness Programs a win-win
solution for both businesses and staff members.
Here are other Employee Wellness Plan trends organizations are implementing:
More organizations are integrating Employee Wellness Programs into their benefits
plans. If they want the best plans or the lowest individual costs, they need
to participate in the Employee Wellness Plan and meeting minimum objectives.
More organizations are providing workplace weight loss programs as part of
the Employee Wellness Program, especially after Duke University’s new research
showing the high cost of overweight staff members and increased cost for worker’s
compensation for sedentary and overweight staff members.
Organizations are providing more Employee Wellness Programs designed to assist
staff members with chronic health conditions: health coaches, nurse advice lines,
telephone counseling, and self-study guides
Organizations are providing more web-based Employee Wellness Plan interventions
and health information resources
More organizations are providing regular workplace employee health screenings
including cholesterol, glucose, A1c, blood pressure, weigh-ins, and other checks
as a component of their Employee Wellness Program. Some Employee Wellness Programs
even include bone-density checks and skin cancer screenings.
Many organizations are providing fitness programs, either in the community
or workplace, as a component of their Employee Wellness Program.
Corporations are providing more prizes, rewards, and incentives getting engaged
in Employee Wellness Plan activities
Some organizations are adding emphasis to maintaining health. It’s one thing
to lose weight or stop smoking; it’s another to maintain these changes. Helping
staff members stay engaged and maintain their health changes is important for
Organizations are putting more emphasis on keeping healthy people healthy rather
than just working primarily with high-risk individuals. Research shows this
approach results in a greater Employee Wellness Plan return on investment (ROI).
Wellness organizations are providing great resources for organizations’ staff
members over the Internet – online wellness centers, monthly health and
wellness newsetters, wellness challenges, web-based points tracking systems,
virtual fitness programs, web-based wellness coaching or interventions, interactive
health calculators, healthy recipes, even downloadable health tips for your
Organizations who are becoming more proactive are making a big impact on their
future health care expenses and productivity. Ohio State University announced
that they expect to save $30 million dollars with their broad-based Employee
Wellness Plan over the next 5 years!
Employee Wellness Programs and prevention are sound ideas whose time has come.
Wellness is more fun and less expensive than treating disease.
References: TIME in partnership with CNN, "Businesses Help Workers Lose
Weight." Website accessed July 2007.