Healthy Rewards: The Benefits of a Custom Wellness Program

Looking for a way to keep insurance costs down? Making sure your employees are as healthy as possible is a good place to start. And for many companies, that means establishing a wellness program in addition to their health plan.


What's the difference? While health plans focus primarily on care of disease, wellness plans are squarely focused on preventing disease -- and their concomitant healthcare costs. Given the skyrocketing costs of healthcare, incorporating a wellness program can be a smart financial move for many companies. In fact, studies have found that on average, healthcare costs can be reduced by more than $3 for every $1 spent on wellness programs. And while it used to be that wellness plans were only offered by major companies, many insurance carriers now offer plans that are affordable for small businesses too.


Most carriers offer some flexibility in the level of wellness benefits they provide, but most plans include:

·         health education

·         screening for specific risks such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol

·         nutrition counseling

·         fitness programs

·         stop-smoking programs

·         health club membership subsidies


Wellness programs have also been associated with a decrease in both workers compensation and disability claims as well as lower rates of worker absenteeism.


Encouraging employee buy-in


Because wellness programs are typically voluntary, providing incentives can be a great motivator to get employees to participate. Incentives might include promotional items like t-shirts or lunch bags, as well as more costly items like gift cards to local businesses or online retailers. You might also consider a tiered reward program based on the level of participation or consider implementing a contest with different prize levels. Even with the cost of incentives added in, wellness programs still offer significant savings when compared to the relative costs of healthcare services and losses due to employee illness.


And of course, there's another benefit: Adding a wellness program is an important step in maintaining employee morale. To learn more about wellness programs, contact your insurance rep today.

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