Workplace Health Incentive Programs

Liz Myers, September 24, 2013

Courtesy of Collective Inktelligence

It is no surprise that poor diets and lack of exercise are major contributors to our country’s serious health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Often, poor health decisions are either due to lack of knowledge or lack of motivation. So, logically, in order make our country healthier, people must be educated and motivated.

Since over 60% of Americans are on a health care plan through their company, employers have every reason to take action in improving their employees’ wellbeing.  Each year, doctor’s appointments, medications, and sick days for employees add up and employers must pay the health care bills and make up for the days that they miss. Luckily, workplace wellness programs are designed to help with these issues.

Workplace wellness programs provide incentives for employees to get healthy. Not only do these programs often pay employees to lose weight or lower blood pressure (or improve many other aspects of their health,) they also promote a healthy office environment. As employees document their efforts, these programs often offer a number of clinical advisors to give suggestions and answer any questions employees may have about their health. There is no better way to convince people to work out or trade their burger for a salad than to pay them to do so. As a company’s employees gets healthier and happier, healthcare prices go down for employers. It’s a win-win!

Perhaps the idea of employees receiving rewards for improving their health while employers save money on health insurance seems too good to be true, but the countless workplace wellness program success stories can validate these assertions. Take the Raleigh-Durham Airport, for example. Their newly implemented wellness plan provides fitness and diet counselors and employees post their goals, successes, and setbacks on a blog. After years of the airport’s health care costs rising quickly, the program has decreased the company’s healthcare costs from $1.91 to $1.82 million.(source)

The Jackson Laboratory in Maine initiated a wellness program for its employees in 2008. Employees of the laboratory received points for exercise, diet change, and other healthy activities. From 2007, when the program began, to 2012, the average blood pressure of employees decreased by 35% and weight decreased by 13%. On average, each person’s health expenses decreased by 10%. (source)

Without talking (or writing) your ears (or eyes) off with other stories of successful workplace wellness programs, here is the bottom line: People will get healthy if they are paid to do it. Life Vest Health is a workplace health incentive program that works like the stock market, which gives employees even more motivation to boost their health. Each participant can invest any amount of money and choose their particular health goals. The higher the participants’ investments, as well as investments from friends and family, the greater rewards they receive when they make progress toward their goals.

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