Woman doing situps While incentives are an essential component of behavior change, one should not lose sight of what is being incentivized: health. (Photo: Shutterstock)

In 2019 health care costs—including premiums and out-of-pocket costs for employees and dependents—are estimated to reach nearly $15,000 per employee, a number that has continues to increase each year. Given that more than 80 percent of all large US employers offer corporate wellness programs, which often leverage incentives to encourage healthy behaviors, one would think are health expenses would be in check.

Just because an employer has a wellness program does not necessarily mean they have an overarching wellness strategy. Therein lies the problem—while incentives can be powerful drivers of healthy behavior change, their successful implementation requires a comprehensive wellness strategy, which is a delicate balance of both art and science.

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