As healthcare costs continue to escalate without any signs of slowing down, many employers are looking for alternative ways to cut health costs and still provide for employees. The solution: wellness incentive programs.
According to a new survey by benefits consultant Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health, nearly two- thirds of companies said the biggest obstacle to keeping benefits affordable was their employees’ poor health habits. Employees in turn are facing a growing affordability gap as their out-of-pocket healthcare costs rise at a higher rate than their income, making it more difficult to save for retirement. Simply offering wellness programs weren’t enough to actually change their habits.
Consequently, more companies now offer financial incentives, like cash rewards or premium rebates for employees who complete wellness programs or meet certain health goals. About 20% of employers used penalties, like higher premiums or deductibles if workers did not complete health management programs.
Companies are including spouses in the programs, recognizing them as influential in their family’s overall health environment. Nearly all companies who instituted achievement based programs said they included weight goals as a requirement under the program, determined by body mass index. Other metrics induced blood pressure, cholesterol, tobacco use, and blood glucose level.
In the study, employers cited under-use of preventative services, such as annual screenings as a challenge in containing healthcare costs. Wellness programs are a win-win for the employee and the company. The idea is aimed to reduce healthcare costs for both employers and employees.
At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management we understand that an effective Employee Benefits program is key in hiring and keeping top talent and in helping employees with life needs. We’ll help you strike the right balance in offering employees a benefit plan that is attractive, offers more choices, customization, and flexibility with your organization’s financial ability by spending smarter, not more. Contact us today for more information.