iLoveBenefits: Industry News Blog

Should wellness programs be sponsored by your employer

According to a recent survey, only 48% of employees had participated in an employer-sponsored program to help them improve their physical health. Source: “Employees Report High Satisfaction with Health and Well-being Programs, but More Personalization is Needed,” National Business Group on Health Press Release, July 20, 2016, https://www.businessgrouphealth.org/pressroom/pressRelease.cfm?ID=280

30% don’t trust their employers to be involved in their health and well-being

According to a recent survey:

  • Just half of employees participated in a wellness activity or health management-related program in the last year
  • 71% of employees prefer to manage their own health
  • 32% said the wellness initiatives offered by their employers don’t meet their needs
  • 46% don’t want their employers to have access to their personal health information
  • 30% don’t trust their employers to be involved in their health and well-being

Source: “Primary Care physicians accepting Medicare: A Snapshot ,” The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, October 2015, http://files.kff.org/attachment/data-note-primary-care-physicians-accepting-medicare-a-snapshot

On a global basis, do investments in wellness make sense

“Reconfigure workplace wellness,” experts say Data on employee wellness programs show they may not be effective and offer a return-on-investment of less than 1-to-1, experts wrote in a Health Affairs blog post. After reviewing study data and literature, they said it is time to “reconfigure workplace wellness,” demand more information from vendors and consultants, and adopt a standard that syncs up with U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines. Health Affairs Blog

I can get my $1 Coke and my $1 dollar burger, but where’s my $1 salad?

80% of consumers say they wish “doing healthier things didn’t cost so much”

According to a recent consumer survey by Cigna:

  • 75% fear health costs could ruin prospects for secure retirement.
  • 44% worry health costs will limit ability to pay for child’s college.
  • 42% of consumers note hospitalization as their number one health cost concern.
  • 19% of consumers note health costs for a spouse or partner as their number one health cost concern.
  • 16% of consumers note costs of medications as their number one health cost concern.

Note: “Health and Financial Well-being: How Strong Is the Link?” was conducted electronically via a panel by MRops Data Collection from August 7 – 21, 2014 with 1,847 women and men 25-64.

What does this mean for personal accountability???

According to a recent survey:

  • 76% of the general public think it is appropriate for employers to offer wellness programs that promote healthy behaviors
  • 62% do not think it is appropriate for employers to require workers to pay higher health insurance premiums if they don’t participate in the employer’s wellness program
  • 74% do not think it is appropriate for employers to charge workers higher premiums if they are unable to meet certain health goals

Source: “Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: June 2014,” The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, July 1, 2014, http://kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/kaiser-health-tracking-poll-june-2014/

Are cultures ahead of incentives?

According to a recent survey of 361 organizations and 3,822 employees:

  • 52% of employers offer services for mental health and depression management
  • 96% of employees participate in wellness programs to improve their own health
  • 43.1% of employers aren’t planning to take advantage of wellness program incentives offered under the Affordable Care Act

Source: “VIRGIN PULSE SURVEY REVEALS INVESTING IN EMPLOYEES’ WELL-BEING DRIVES ENGAGEMENT, COMPANY CULTURE AND RECRUITMENT,” Virgin Pulse Press Release, June 2, 2014, http://www.virginpulse.com/news/virgin-pulse-survey-reveals-investing-employees%E2%80%99-well-being-drives-engagement-company-culture

Children don’t get what we know works in health care

Children’s Healthcare Access in California

According to a study from Children Now, within 1 year, 72% or 1.7 million of California’s youngest children did not receive any of the developmental screenings that are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Health care services offered at schools are especially important for children who lack routine access to a health care provider, such as the 1.8 million (19%) children in California who don’t receive appropriate preventive medical care. Most school-based health services are provided in school-based health centers (SBHC s). Currently, only 2% of California’s schools have a SBHC.

Source: Children Now  http://www.childrennow.org/index.php/meet/press_releases/article/1452)

Imagine if we simply did all the ‘blocking and tackling’ we know how to do in health care? No need to invent new ‘stuff’ just need to do what we know… and the world would be entirely different.

The impact of wellness programs . . . what do you think?

(Reuters) – A long-awaited report on workplace wellness programs, which has still not been publicly released, delivers a blow to the increasingly popular efforts, Reuters has learned, casting doubt on a pillar of the Affordable Care Act and a favorite of the business community. According to a report by researchers at the RAND Corp, programs that try to get employees to become healthier and reduce medical costs have only a modest effect. Those findings run contrary to claims by the mostly small firms that sell workplace wellness to companies ranging from corporate titans to mom-and-pop operations.

RAND delivered the congressionally mandated analysis to the U.S. Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services last fall.

The report found, for instance, that people who participate in such programs lose an average of only one pound a year for three years.

In addition, participation “was not associated with significant reductions in total cholesterol level.” And while there is some evidence that smoking-cessation programs work, they do so only “in the short term.”

Most large U.S. employers believe the programs improve workers’ health and reduce or at least keep the lid on medical spending. “Companies from the CEO on down feel that these programs are bringing value,” said Maria Ghazal, a vice president at the Business Roundtable, the association of chief executives of big companies. “The criticism is surprising, because companies are not hearing that internally.”

Some experts not involved with the new report say even the modest benefits RAND found need qualification.

More from the source: Reuters

A majority understand health and wellness – what about the rest

57% of employers believe their employees have a good understanding of the health and wellness programs offered and how to participate, but only 41%t of employees agree they have a strong grasp of the programs offered, according to a recent survey.

Source: “Colonial Life White Paper Shows Communication is Key to Wellness Program Success,” Colonial Life Prewss Releasee, August 20, 2012, http://www.coloniallife.com/en/Newsroom/NewsReleases/Colonial%20Life%20White%20Paper%20Shows%20Communication%20is%20Key%20to%20Wellness%20Program%20Success.aspx

Employers are becoming more aggressive in the their use of incentives

How Employers Incorporate Financial Incentives Into Wellness Programs

According to a new survey by the National Business Group on Health, employers continue to experiment with and perfect the best ways to incorporate financial incentives into wellness programs. While nearly half of respondents (48%) use incentives to encourage participation in programs, some employers are basing incentives on specific health outcomes. More than four in ten (44%) provide an incentive based upon tobacco-use status while three in ten (29%) base awards upon achievement of outcomes such as BMI or cholesterol levels. Just under one-fourth of respondents (22%) take a different approach – applying surcharges to employees for not participating in certain programs.

Source: National Business Group on Health
http://www.businessgrouphealth.org/pressrelease.cfm?ID=201

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