health risk assessments workplace wellness

Companies ‘Continue to Show Considerable Interest’ in Workplace Wellness Programs: Report

The Kaiser Family Foundation recently released its 2017 Employer Health Benefits Survey, and the report includes important insights around the benefits of a well-run workplace wellness program.

The workplace wellness section begins with a central point of what drives companies to integrate wellness programs into the workplace: “Firms continue to show considerable interest in programs that help workers identify health issues and manage chronic conditions. Many employers believe that improving the health of their workers and their family members can improve morale, productivity and reduce health care costs. In addition to wellness programs, many large firms use disease management programs to help workers manage chronic conditions.”

In terms of statistics, “among large firms offering health benefits in 2017:

  • “62% offer workers the opportunity to complete a health risk assessment”
  • “52% offer workers the opportunity to complete a biometric screening”
  • “85% offer workers wellness programs such as programs to help them stop smoking or lose weight, or programs that offer lifestyle and behavioral coaching.”

The report adds an key point about incentives: “Substantial shares of these large firms provide incentives for workers to participate in or to complete the programs.”

As the report notes, an important part of a well-run workplace wellness program includes well-executed Health Risk Assessments: “Health risk assessments generally include questions about medical history, health status, and lifestyle.”

Interactive Health’s Cathy Kenworthy wrote previously about the positive impact a health risk assessment had on one member: “In the words of one member: ‘During my health assessment last year, it revealed that I endorsed a moderate level of symptoms commonly found with depression. That was just the beginning. It also stated that this could be a result of several things one being hormone issues. After months of being ill and no doctor really knowing what I was suffering with, it was discovered that I was in perimenopause and was deficient in all my ‘female’ hormones. This was debilitating. I am getting the care I need for this now and am feeling much better.’”

And while the Kaiser report notes that there remains room to gain greater participation among employees for health risk assessments, it also reports that on one tactic that some firms employ to “encourage workers to complete a health risk assessment:” Incentives.

The report notes:

  • “Among large firms that offer a health risk assessment, 52% offer workers an incentive to complete the assessment.”
  • “Among large firms offering incentives for workers to complete a health risk assessment, 46% lower premium contributions or reduce cost sharing and 40% offer cash, HSA or HRA contributions, or allow the worker to avoid a payroll deduction.
  • “In some firms, workers must complete the assessment to be eligible for other rewards under the firm’s wellness programs. Some firms offer workers more than one type of incentive.”

Over the coming days, we’ll highlight more findings from the report.