Posts Tagged ‘health risk’

Corporate America Embracing Wellness

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Even as they struggle through the recession, companies are proving how highly they value their employees by offering financial incentives to make sure they stay healthy.  A January survey of 489 large businesses by the National Business Group of Health (NBGH) found that 58 percent offer lifestyle improvement programs, an impressive uptick over the 43 percent reported during 2007.amsterdam_man_riding_bicycle_in_suit

Of responding companies, 58 percent offer health coaches, 52 percent have weight management programs and 80 percent sponsor health risk appraisals.  There’s a good reason why companies offer these financial incentives – they are effective.  “The cost of healthcare continues to become so high,” said Scott Keyes, senior group and healthcare consultant for Watson Wyatt, which conducted the survey.  “People are looking at long-term solutions.  We realize that one long-term solution is to keep our population healthier.  We are not seeing people pull away from that.”

Additionally, according to Dr. David Hunnicutt, President of the Wellness Council of America, as employers offer personal health assessments or health risk appraisals, it is an indication that employers want to become engaged in the health and well-being of their employees.  It becomes a “win-win” situation for the employee and the employer.

Financial incentives in the $51 to $100 range encourage participation in smoking cessation and weight management programs, and motivate employees to undergo biometric screenings.  Not surprisingly, the level of participation increases with the size of the incentive.  Typically, incentives are awarded in the form of gift cards or reduced health insurance premiums.