Many employers are gettingtricked by wellness programs that don't fit their needs or providevalue. (Photo: Shutterstock)

|

The only thing spookier than not having a wellness program in place is having one thatdoesn't reduce costs while improving the health of youremployees. Unfortunately, for most employers, current health careofferings makes this situation a reality.

|

Employers are spending money on wellness but not seeing much ofa return. The results they hope to see are that employees starttaking preventive steps to stave off chronic disease and catch problems before theybecome more serious (and costly) issues. Instead, many are gettingtricked by wellness programs that don't fit their needs or providevalue. It's important that a health and well-being platform issimple to use, addresses chronic conditions and employeelifestyles, and uses predictive analytics to prevent healthissues—which can lead to major savings for employers and improvedlife for its people.

|

Related: 6 statistics highlighting the trends in employeehealth and wellness today

|

Employee health benefits are typically an employer's second mostexpensive line item, right behind payroll. And an employer'spharmacy benefit is typically 30 to 50 percent of the total healthbenefits spend—thanks, in part, to treatment for chronicconditions. It's imperative that employers have a program in placethat helps them control these costs, not for some but for all.

|

Unfortunately, just 19 percent of employers feel that theirwellness program has an impact on chronic diseases. More needs tobe done to develop wellness programs that actually move the needlefor employees and employers.

|

To make wellness work for everyone, employers need to ensuretheir programs meet three goals.

Wellness has to be easy

Your most motivated employees will be inclined to participate ina wellness program—they may see it as a fun way to continueimproving their health and reaching their goals. But they're notnecessarily your target audience.

|

Your employees who aren't naturally drawn to the idea of awellness program are likely the ones who need the most help gettingwell. Wellness has to be easy enough for them to see the appeal inparticipating. A program that's difficult to join, difficult toparticipate in and feels too much like work won't get used by yourtarget audience—the employees who are ripe for a wellnessintervention.

|

A wellness program should incorporate behavioral economics andbehavior change principles to make it easy for employees to setgoals, make small changes and be rewarded for their forwardprogress.

Wellness has to address chronic conditions

The cost of chronic diseases is weighing down your health planand causing employee productivity to dip. Unfortunately, it'sunlikely that your wellness program addresses chronic conditions inan intelligent way.

|

For a program to be effective, it should start with aneasy-to-complete private health assessment that identifiesemployees at or near risk and offers specific, personalizedrecommendations for improvement. The program should also educateyour employees on any chronic conditions they face, teach them tobegin self-managing their health and use lifestyle managementprograms to fully engage them with behavioral science based onpersonal archetypes.

Wellness has to include predictive analytics

Helping your employees manage chronic conditions can help toimprove your workforce, lower claims and keep employees healthy andproductive. But preventing conditions from ever emerging could beeven more valuable to your health and wellness strategy.

|

A wellness program that includes analytics can help employeesunderstand their health risks and take steps to prevent chronicconditions such as heart disease, COPD or diabetes.

|

Wellness programs are a given in practically any company. Ifdesigned right, they can help employees and employers see healthand financial results. And that's a treat for everyone.


More ways to build up your wellnessprogram:


Hal F. Rosenbluth is chairman andCEO of New Ocean Health Solutions.

|

 

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.