Workplace Wellness Works
There are a few silver linings in the upcoming healthcare reform law, one of which is an increase in employee wellness incentives. As reported by Stone Hearth News, in “2014 employers will be able to offer an incentive of up to 30 percent of an employee’s total healthcare premium (compared to 20% currently), if the employee is doing everything asked to improve his or her health and reduce medical costs”. And saving hard-earned money can be a very powerful motivator for positive change in many people…and companies.
Overall, this becomes a win-win proposition, as employers pay less health insurance premiums on healthier employees. Additionally, healthy employees typically have increased productivity and reduced absenteeism. According to a 2010 review study from Harvard researchers, employers medical costs fall by about $3.27 and absenteeism costs fall by about $2.73 for every dollar spent on wellness programs. In fact, over one third of respondents to Lockton Benefit Group’s May 2011 Employer Health Reform Survey found the increased employee wellness incentive to be the most important part of the health reform law.
Of course, determining which wellness programs to offer becomes the next issue. Are we talking about blood pressure and health screenings or fully-equipped on-site gyms? Maybe just adding healthier options in the on-site cafeteria? Provide individual counseling, group counseling or smoking cessation classes? The opportunities are almost endless and research is being done to determine which are most cost effective. If you are reading this and are employed somewhere, print this out and show it to them. They should get the message. But don’t wait for your employer…start making small changes today! It’s amazing what moving just a little bit more or eating just a little bit less can do…10 calories a day = 10 pounds a decade!