Workplace Wellness to Help Reduce Healthcare Costs

Employers Turn to Workplace Wellness to Help Reduce Healthcare Costs

As businesses continue to find innovative ways to better manage health care costs, Employee Benefits News reports that one tool are turning to for results is a well-run workplace wellness program.

Writes EBN: “Employers are offering HSAs, wellness incentives and price transparency tools at higher rates in an effort to cut the costs of their employee health plans. And when savings appear to plateau, they are implementing innovative reward plans to those who adopt these benefits.”

To heighten the point, EBN adds: “Wellness programs continue to gain traction. Fifty-eight percent of 2017 plans offer some type of wellness incentive, which is up from 50% in 2016.”

The piece is based on the 2017 Medical Plan Trends and Observation Report conducted by employee-engagement firm DirectPath and research firm CEB.

Also interesting: Employers continue to be creative on engagement and rewards as ways to encourage employees to take advantage of well-run wellness programs.

To help employers consider, Interactive Health published a white paper title “Guide to Incentive Design and Increased Participation: Taking a Strategic Approach to Incentives.”

Among its findings: “Higher incentives lead to higher participation rates: Using wellness incentives to drive program participation and ongoing engagement can be effective, but can also be complicated. By utilizing smart business decisions and avoiding disputes with employees and unreasonable plan designs, you can use incentives to drive positive behavior change.”

The paper outlines 4 Steps to Greater Participation:

  1. Commit to a Wellness Strategy
  2. Consider Benchmarks and Best Practices
  3. Understand the Laws Regarding Employee Based Wellness Program Guidelines
  4. Implement a Successful Wellness Program

The full guide can be found here.

In discussing the DirectPath/CEB report, Kim Buckey, vice president of client services at DirectPath added: “What was interesting was the level of creativity within these incentives and surcharges. There were paycheck credits, gift cards, points that could be redeemed for rewards. One employer reduced the co-pays for office visits to $20 if you participated in the wellness program. We are seeing a level of creativity that we haven’t seen before.”

EBN adds: “Educating employees to be smarter healthcare consumers is key.”

Says Buckey: “What is becoming really obvious is that there is room to play in all these areas of cost shifting and high deductible plans and wellness but we can no longer put them in place and hope for the best. We have to focus on educating employees and their families.”