people in bike and pedestrian lanes Participants between the third and fifth years of theprogram were more likely to report eating more fruits andvegetables, exercising more a week, experiencing lower levels ofstress. (Photo: Shutterstock)

|

All the boxes are checked: Workers who are rewarded forparticipating in wellness programs often practice healthier behaviors, are less likely toexperience chronic conditions, have lower health care costs – andare more productive at work.

|

At least that’s the case for Humana’s wellness and rewardsprogram Go365, detailed in the Go365 five-year study.

|

Data from July 2011 through June 2016 was collected throughGo365 health assessments and biometric screenings of 10,598 Humanaemployees participating in the program. The first two years wereused as a baseline period for the study, and the last three yearsmade up the analysis period.

|

Improvements were seen in virtually all metrics analyzed.

|

“There was an increase in the percentage of members who reportedhealthier lifestyle choices and received clinical results showing ahealthy range for different risk factors linked to chronicconditions,” writes the author, Jaco Conradie, an associatedirector of financial analytics on the Humana Wellness Solutionsproduct team.

|

Participants between the third and fifth years were more likelyto report eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising more aweek, experiencing lower levels of stress and beingnon-smokers.

|

Also during the latter years, biometric data showed that memberswere more likely to have healthy ranges of high-density lipoprotein(HDL) cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure andtriglycerides.

|

Lower risk factors paid off: “Higher engagement in Go365 waslinked to minimized cost increases in health care, as well as feweremergency room visits and hospital admissions,” Conradiewrites.

|

In the fifth year, employees who were highly engaged in theprogram on average paid $116 (or 22 percent) less each month inhealth care costs than employees who were deemed as“low-engaged.”

|

Moreover, highly engaged employees in the fifth year on averagehad 35 percent fewer emergency room visits and 30 percent fewerhospital admissions than low-engaged employees.

|

To measure productivity, Humana split up the employees by theirGo365 engagement level and looked at the number of “unhealthy days”they reported in an annual well-being survey, a metric used by theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention.

|

By the fifth year, highly engaged members reported 55 percentfewer Unhealthy Days than low-engaged members.

|

“Higher engagement in Go365 was associated with fewer UnhealthyDays, which can reflect productivity, absenteeism and presenteeism— when employees are physically present at work but not working atfull performance,” Conradie writes.

|

Overall, the five-year study shows a link between long-termengagement in Go365 with employee health, improvements in healthcare cost savings and productivity, he writes.

|

“This study’s results continue to show a positive correlationbetween engagement in the Go365 program and lower healthcare costs,absenteeism and biometric risk factors,” Conradie writes. “Therealso seems to be a close response relationship between engagementin the program and health outcomes, with high-engaged membersexhibiting the best results, followed by medium-engaged members andlow-engaged members having the worst results.”

|

READ MORE:

|

Workers with both health and financial wellnessbenefits healthier

|

How to secure a wellness program thatworks

|

Another nail in the wellness ROIcoffin?

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.

Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.