How Employers Use Wellness Programs

How Employers Use Wellness Programs: Report

Last week we reported on United Benefit Advisors’ recent report, “2016 Trends: How Employers Use Wellness Programs” and how more small businesses implement workplace wellness programs.

Today we offer other highlights from the UBA survey, many of which are extremely useful to companies seeking to integrate a well-run wellness program into their overall benefits offering:

Prevalence of Wellness Programs: “18.4 percent of all employers offered comprehensive wellness programs, virtually unchanged from last year.”

“As one might expect, the highest percentage (60.3 percent) of plans offering wellness benefits came from employers with 1,000 or more employees. The next two largest percentages – 51.1 percent and 35.6 percent – came from organizations with 500 to 999 employees and 200 to 499 employees, respectively.”

Incentives: “67.7 percent of employers who offer wellness programs have incentives built into the program, an increase of 8.5 percent from four years ago.”

The report continues: “Across all employers, slightly more (45.4 percent) prefer wellness incentives in the form of cash toward premiums, 401(k)s, exible spending accounts (FSA), etc., versus health club dues and gift cards (40 percent). But among larger employers, 500 to 1,000+ employees, cash incentives are more heavily preferred (63.2 percent) over gift certificates and health club dues (33.7 percent). Conversely, smaller employers (1 to 99 employees) prefer health club-related incentives (nearly 40 percent) versus cash (25 percent).”

Program Components: “Among employers offering wellness programs, 72.5 percent include health risk assessments, 67.7 percent offer employee incentives for participation, 67 percent offer biometric screenings or physical exams, 54.6 percent include on-site or telephone coaching for high-risk employees, and 38.8 percent include seminars or workshops. The use of health risk assessments continues to decrease, dropping 10.5 percent in three years. Compared to 2015, telephone coaching for high-risk employees is up 7.5 percent and seminars and workshops are down 8.5 percent.”

The report also notes that biometric work is gaining in popularity: “Since awareness of personal health is one of the foundations of a good wellness program, 67 percent of wellness programs are driving employees toward biometric screenings and primary care visits, on average. Employers with 500 to 999 employees; Central U.S. employers; and the government, education, utilities sectors are leveraging this component more heavily with 79.8 percent, 74.9 percent, and 80.4 percent of their respective wellness plans featuring physical exams or biometric screenings.”

Read the full survey and report here.