Wellness plans sound like a panacea. And the best part about them is how easy they are. Low risk, high-reward, right?

There’s a reason workplace wellness plans are one of the only things left in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

We know employers are offering them at a greater clip than ever — obviously responding to a workforce clamoring for them in ever greater numbers as well.

But maybe it’s time we took a more critical, and informed, look at wellness programs. It’s clear some have already. Much like 401(k)s, wellness programs aren’t above reproach anymore. As some CEOs have failed to sees the ROI they wanted — or were promised — wellness has come under increased scrutiny.

It’s got to be more than a simple reward program. It’s got to be a complete behavioral transformation that goes beyond flu shots and discounts. And it’s got to be implemented strategically with clear communication and established expectations. Or the backlash against wellness plans could set us back decades.

In other, somewhat related, news, I saw a survey last week that illustrated an interesting parallel in this country. Turns out we’re still not happy with the health care in this country, according to the latest survey from the number crunchers over at the Employee Benefit Research Institute. They found that most Americans rate our health care as fair or poor. Worse, that number’s doubled from 1998-2006. Oddly enough, though, we like our own individual health care plans just fine, according to the survey.

Health care sucks. But my plan’s great. All of which reminds me of our own collective disdain for Congress, yet our tolerance, if not downright affection for, our own respective representatives. We hate the forest but love the trees. It’s this deluded sense of tunnel vision we share collectively that prevents us from seeing the pieces that make up the problem, instead of the problem itself. And, until we do, we’re condemned to keep repeating our mistakes.

Shameless plug alert: I’ll be on a web seminar next week with Dr. Richard Spero, whose (apparent) expertise makes him an ideal expert to look beyond the obvious and the easy when it comes to implementing smart wellness plans. I hope you’ll join us, and, as always, you can sign up here.