Wellness Programs for Employee Health Benefit Packages

Blog, Employee Benefits, Wellness

Pad of paper that says "Employee Wellness Program" underlined in green marker

While there is a significant amount of research supporting the potential benefits of wellness programs in reducing healthcare costs, the actual impact can vary based on factors such as program design, participation rates, and the specific health needs of the population. It’s important to note that wellness programs should be well-designed and evidence-based to achieve the desired outcomes.

However, these savings are not immediately seen the first year they are implemented. Over time, health and wellness programs can lower the cost of employee benefits.

A systematic review of 56 published studies of worksite health programs showed that well-implemented workplace health programs can lead to 25% savings each on absenteeism, health care costs, and workers’ compensation and disability management claims costs. – Chapman LS. Meta-evaluation of worksite health promotion economic return studies: 2005 update. Am J Health Promot. 2005 Jul-Aug;19(6):1-11.

Why Do Employers Have Health and Wellness Programs?

In a study done on the ROI of employee wellness programs, Harvard researchers conclude that, on average, for every dollar spent on employee wellness, medical costs fall $3.27, and absenteeism drops $2.73. This is a 6-to-1 return on investment.

Before we make any conclusions, it is important to understand when those savings tend to kick in and how they impact the overall cost of employee benefit programs over time. LEARN MORE HERE.

Create a Wellness Assessment

As companies face rising health insurance costs, health programs are becoming a long-term strategy to lower premiums or at least keep rising costs to a minimum.  While there are lots of factors that go into premiums the first step is to do an assessment of your current workforce.  What are things that you can do to encourage better health and overall well-being for your team?  The first thing employers need to do is establish a baseline for employee wellness.

Here Are the Steps to Take:

  • Employee Surveys: The CDD has suggestions for employers to survey their employees.  This is a low-cost way to assess the possible needs of your team.  One key takeaway is that these surveys must be confidential.  Your employees must remain anonymous.  Learn more about the CDC guidelines HERE.
  • Assess Your Current Health Benefits: What type of coverage and services are currently offered under your benefits package? Do your employees use them regularly?
  • Vacation and Sick Time: Do your employees use their allotted vacation and sick time yearly? Do you offer paid time off (PTO.)
  • Mental Health Programs: Does your plan offer PTO for mental health days? Does your benefits package cover mental health providers?
  • Injuries and Workers Compensation Claims: Do you track the number of on-the-job injuries?  What percentage of your employees are injured on the job, what are the costs associated with these types of injuries?  Can you do things to improve the work environment to prevent them from happening in the future?

The key to a great wellness assessment is to proactively take charge of your current needs. Then, work with the team at AUI to help you find ways to proactively help your team improve their overall health and well-being for years to come.  A key takeaway from this is to make sure your assessment is done with care and complies with privacy laws.  If you have questions or concerns about keeping things compliant, we are here to help.

How Can Employers Be Pro-Active in Wellness Initiatives?

Wellness items representing the health and wellness initiatives from an employer for employees.

Every employer who cares about the health and wellness of their employees. Wellness programs can benefit can help to improve everyone’s overall health.  There are different ways that employers can take the lead on these initiatives.

Here are Some Ways to Promote a Healthier Lifestyle for Your Employees:

  • Workplace Health Initiatives: Did you know that the CDC offers an employer-based training program to improve the health of participating employers and certified trainers?  You can learn more about this program on the CDC website HERE.
  • Cholesterol: Did you know that about 45 percent of the adult population in the USA has blood cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dl? Many of them do not know that they are putting themselves at risk for the number one killer of men and women in the USA, heart attacks.  Learn more about preventative recommendations HERE.
  • Nutrition Programs: Today, we know healthy diets and good nutrition can promote weight management, reduce high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more.
  • Physical Activity: The Task Force for Community Preventive Services found that health promotion activities tailored to an individual’s specific needs increase the likelihood of beginning an exercise program and increase the frequency of exercise. Individualized programs have resulted in a 35% increase in the amount of time individuals spend in physical activity.
  • Create Initiatives to curb tobacco use: Statistically tobacco use contributes to a list of serious diseases including cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, cancer, emphysema, and secondhand smoke contributes to disease in children including asthma. In the USA alone we spend around $170 Billion in direct medical care linked to tobacco use. Companies lose more than $156 billion from lost productivity. (CDC STAT)

How Can AUI Help?

Everyone wins when you work in a place that genuinely cares for you.  Everyone on your team wins when wellness plans help provide a basic map to keeping health insurance premiums lower and coverage affordable for employers and employees alike.  Wellness initiatives are one way to proactively curb those costs over time.

Our team can work with you and your employees to assess what wellness initiatives might be beneficial for you to implement long-term strategies to curb increases in benefit programs.  Everyone wins when your entire team is healthy and workplace satisfaction increases.  Contact Us Today to get Started.

We do more than cover small businesses and individuals with the right insurance policies and benefit plans – what motivates our team is helping you save more so you can invest more in your team, family, and goals.

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