A recent nationwide study found that a growing majority of businesses are providing financial incentives to workers who take part in health improvement and wellness programs. According to the Aon Hewitt 2012 Health Care Survey of more than 2,000 employers, nearly three in five (59%) gave employees cash to promote participation in these programs – that’s nearly twice the 37% rate in 2011. Companies are also encouraging participants to stick with these programs. More than half of the respondents (58%) who offered these rewards also gave workers a bonus for completing the program.
Taking an active role in modifying their lifestyle provides employees with obvious humanitarian benefits. In addition, the businesses that provided these programs saved a healthy $700 a year for every participating employee by reducing the incidence of risky behaviors that worsen chronic conditions – such as diabetes, back pain, obesity, coronary artery disease, high cholesterol and asthma – which account for $.80 of every $1.00 spent on health care. According to Aon, these behaviors include:
- Unhealthy diet
- Lack of sleep
- Poor stress management
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
There’s still room for improvement. To change employee behavior, more companies need to associate rewards with program outcomes, as well as basic enrollment. Even though the vast majority of employers in the survey (more than 80%) offered workers cash payments to complete health questionnaires, only10% used incentives to motivate behavioral change. Providing workers with the results of health questionnaires and biometric screenings will give them a sense of participation and of accountability.
We’d be happy to help you create, and maintain, an employee wellness incentive program that can help your workers live healthier lives – and reduce your Health care costs. Just give us a call.