Ever wondered if “wellness” is just a feel-good term for another cost center — when you’re already watching expenses closer than ever? If healthier employees actually can translate...
Why Wellness Makes Sense (and Dollars) for Your Workforce
Ever wondered if “wellness” is just a feel-good term for another cost center — when you’re already watching expenses closer than ever? If healthier employees actually can translate into lower health care costs?
The short answer is “yes.” Here’s why that’s true and just how much it could help your bottom line.
Why Wellness Works
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 50 percent of a person’s health is determined by behavior. That’s good news — because poor genetics don’t set an unalterable course. The bad news is that UnitedHealthcare studies reveal people don’t make the best health decisions for themselves almost 50 percent of the time.
Right now, in the average office of 100 people: 66 report high stress, 59 are seated all day, 49 are physically inactive all the time, 36 are overweight, 23 are obese, 21 smoke, 21 are binge drinkers, and 14 have used marijuana in the last year (according to Wellergize).
Wellness and disease management programs are designed to address these and other health issues in many ways. They often provide online resources, so employees can learn about health-related topics of interest to them — at their convenience. Access can be offered to nurses, health care and fitness coaches, so employees get personalized answers to their questions — and support to change their behavior. And organizations frequently offer incentives for participating in wellness programs — everything from cash to gift certificates to reductions in their health insurance costs. Employees make better decisions as a result, which improves their health.
How Much Companies Can Save
Plenty of independent research backs up corporate savings and return on investment (ROI) in wellness. A study in Health Affairs Magazine in 2010 indicates that every $1.00 you spend on workplace disease prevention and wellness programs can reduce medical costs by about $3.27 and absenteeism-related expenses by about $2.73. A report in Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine reveals that work health promotion programs may bring a 20+ percent decrease in sick leave.
How long does it take? The results of more than 120 research studies reported by the National Group on Health have shown improvements in employee health along with high ROIs for each $1.00 invested in wellness:
- Wellness programs—$3.00 to $8.00 within five years
- Lifestyle behavior change programs—$3.00 to $6.00 within two to five years
- Disease management programs—$7.00 to $8.00 within a year
Take Action Now
Start creating a measurable improvement in your expenses — and your employees’ health! For more complete information on wellness and how you can help your employees improve their wellbeing, call 800-293-0105.