As health care costs continue to rise, employers are on the lookout for ways to reduce spending, and wellness programs are becoming an increasingly popular solution. While research has shown that wellness programs can reduce costs, many employers are failing to measure their return on investment to get an accurate picture of how these programs impact the bottom line, says LuAnn Heinen, vice president at the National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit dedicated to representing large employers’ perspectives on national health policy issues in Washington, D.C.
“It’s important for everyone to look at what they’re spending on wellness per employee and look at that as a percentage of what they’re spending on health care,” Heinen says. “Most employers keep their wellness program investments small – only 2 percent of less of claim costs. There’s a body of evidence in different employer settings and over a number of years that suggests there is a return on investment of $2-3 per every dollar invested. When looking at these figures, a lot of companies might find that they’re underinvesting in wellness and prevention.”