Before launching a Wellness Program decide what you are trying to achieve and set realistic timelines for achieving a return on your investment.
According to the Wellness Council of America, for every $1 investment in Wellness Programs you can expect to save $3 in health care costs.
But how quickly?
Well, the return is dependent on the type of program adopted. We recommend you consider the following:
- Recruit and target employees who are driving your health care costs upward. Bring screenings in-house and incentivize employees to participate. Simple steps like blood pressure checks, cholesterol and glucose screening give employees information to begin to make healthier choices.
- Partner with the disease management departments of your health insurance carrier. This means your carrier will reach out to specific employees based on claims data and provide them with counseling or group support based on their specific disease or situation. This type of coaching can often bring about a faster return on your “wellness” spend.
- Health Plan Design – Employees are more accountable for their own health when they are keenly aware of the cost. Instituting a high deductible plan helps employees recognize the price of lifestyle choices. In a consumer driven plan, employees are price sensitive and will research cost. For example, pricing generic and mail order medications or contact lenses because of the dollar difference. At bottom, realizing a return on investment using plan design can take several plan cycles.
- Exercise, Nutrition and Point-Based Programs - Award points for different lifestyle choices that translate into (health related) gifts are common. They should be low cost, easy to implement and create excitement and competition within your organization. The downside is those that are quick to join are often the most healthy! But if you have one champion success is more likely.
- Utilize free resources. Reach out to your EAP, health plan and community resources (such as smoking cessation programs) to lower your overall financial investment, while still providing a robust plan.
Wellness programs are a hot topic and success is dependent on actively managing the overall health of your employee population and rising premiums.
This means get started now - delay is not an option!