As a team of benefits strategists, we work hard every day to make sure we’re exceeding client expectations and providing the most innovative and value-generating plan designs and advisory services.
As you consider the best way to build a benefits package for your organization you may have several goals. It must work financially and should also make your organization healthier.
With the cost of benefits climbing each year, where will your dollars create the best outcomes for your company and its people?
Wellness programs have become a popular option to add to a benefits package for several reasons.
- They offer flexible design
- Can provide a low-cost way to encourage healthy behaviors
- Can create employee engagement and good will
It all sounds like good stuff. But the real question remains—do wellness programs drive results? Before answering that, it is important to look at the difference between health and wellness.
Health boils down to disease management. A healthier workforce is one that has less injuries or diseases than the last time you looked at it. Programs aimed at health could include:
- Medication management
- Treatment plan adjustment
Unlike health, wellness is a measure of an individual’s lifestyle. Programs aimed at wellness seek to encourage healthy behaviors to proactively avoid health issues:
- Get up and move at work
- Incentivizing healthy habits like hydration or exercise
- Incentivizing proactive medical checkups and screenings
So back to the question of the day—do wellness programs drive results?
If employees are healthier, you would expect to see a reduction in spending on health care. However, a 2014 RAND Wellness Programs Study, found that wellness programs had little effects on the amount employees were spending on health care.
We ran analysis on over 10 years of data from a Fortune 100 employer and it told the same story.
Here is the bottom line—for every dollar spent on wellness programs, total ROI was $0.50. That same dollar spent on disease management programs netted a total ROI of $3.80.
Our survey of Indiana employers revealed that companies cannot simply assume that these programs will make their employees healthier. However, they can be valuable assets for attracting, engaging and retaining your employees.
An effective wellness program requires an effective strategy. Decide on the goals you want your wellness plan to accomplish, identify how it will achieve them and then validate the outcome.
If you do not know where to start, our team of clinical experts would love to help.