With the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (and many small businesses having to purchase group insurance for the first time), many companies are now employing wellness programs. There are two types of programs – which one saves the most money?
The “lifestyle” program is the most common. All employees are encouraged to participate. These programs are usually structured around physical well-being, involvement in the community, and challenges with incentives (like weight loss, for example). The idea behind these types of programs is to gradually change the company environment by encouraging healthier lifestyles for employees. In the long run, the goal is for the company to save money due to people not calling in sick or developing major health problems due to unhealthy living.
Disease and condition management programs – the second type of company wellness plans – directly tie into the group insurance program. This concept is based on staying healthy and managing existing conditions like diabetes or heart disease. A team of nurses conducts yearly physicals and reminds people when it may be time to see their physicians. The incentive is a lower insurance rate. Those who qualify as “well” receive significantly lower rates than those who don’t, and choose not to get better.
According to the Rand Corporation (a leading research company), disease and condition management programs will save companies the most money in the short-run. The lower the rates paid by employees, the lower the rates paid by employers.
By making it very expensive for an employee to be “unwell,” the goal is to get employees on board with health initiatives so they don’t pay exorbitant rates. While, on paper, it may look like punishment, it’s actually promoting a workforce that strives for cheaper rates (and, therefore, overall health).
If you’re interested in a company wellness program, there are many to choose from. Find a good insurance broker to help guide you through the process so you can start saving money, too! With healthy employees comes less time out of work and better productivity.
Good luck, stay healthy, and be well!